The Travers dead-heat pair of Alpha and Golden Ticket will attempt to settle the score in the $1 million Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby at Parx on Saturday, September 22nd. Curiously, the connections of both horses chose to avoid the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont and instead go for the big purse at Parx. The Penn Derby is also a bit of a shorter trip than the JC Gold Cup; nine furlongs vs. the classic mile and a quarter distance at Belmont.
Alpha is coming off a pair of victories at Saratoga and has only finished worse the second twice in his career with both of those races coming at Churchill Downs (BC Juvenile; KY Derby). It would appear that Alpha simply doesn't like to race at Churchill, or is it an outside-of-New York problem? We'll find out on Saturday.
Golden Ticket's performance in the Travers was, by far, the best of his career. Previously, Golden Ticket has finished 5th in the G3-Lexington and 2nd in the G2-Tampa Bay Derby; he had never won a graded stakes race prior to his Travers dead-heat. If you like to bet against bounce candidates, Golden Ticket fits the bill.
Among the horses joining the Travers winners at Parx are:
- Casual Trick: Last in the G1-Wood Memorial this spring and finished 7th, beaten 20 lengths, in the G2-Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream.
- Handsome Mike: Has run in graded stakes races in each of his last seven starts but hasn't finished better than 2nd since running in the G3-Generous over the Hollywood turf course in late November.
- Junebugred: Finished 4th in the G3-Smarty Jones, the local prep for the Penn Derby.
- Macho Macho: Winner of the G2-West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer in his last start.
The Grade 1 Cotillion precedes the Penn Derby and will feature Questing (GB), My Miss Aurelia... and only two other fillies, both of which have zero shot to win the race unless the top two run themselves into oblivion. A disappointing field for this Grade 1 event.
Below are the entries and post positions for Saturday's Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby. Morning line odds will be added when released.
|G2-Pennsylvania Derby; Post time: 6:16pm Eastern|
|1||Stephanoatsee||S. Russell||G. Motion||12/1|
|2||Casual Trick||S. Elliott||N. Zito||8/1|
|3||Handsome Mike||I. Ortiz||L. Mora||20/1|
|4||Alpha||R. Dominguez||K. McLaughlin||9/5|
|5||Junebugred||A. Cintron||S. Hobby||20/1|
|6||Golden Ticket||D. Cohen||K. McPeek||5/2|
|7||Csaba||R. Maragh||P. Gleaves||5/1|
|8||Macho Macho||C. Nakatani||S. Asmussen||4/1|