HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, September 24, 2021 — Parx Racing will have its day in sun, hopefully, as recent heavy rains are scheduled to conclude today. Only this year, the track in Bensalem, Pa will have to do so without its annual visit from Bob Baffert.
Baffert did not like the post draw for Medina Spirit, who pulled the #9 pill just outside serious contenders Hot Rod Charlie and Midnight Bourbon. Given a good run into the first turn, the draw makes things tough, but not impossible.
Admittedly, I was looking forward to betting against the Derby first finisher, but now all value is lost on the other two serious Grade 1 types.
But Baffert is also not bringing Private Mission (9-2), a filly I was highly likely to bet on in the Cotillion. Her declaration left me with five contenders for the top slot.
Unlike Medina Spirit, her #7 post position, even at a sixteenth of a mile shorter, was a good draw given her style, very good form, and favorable trip dynamics, assuming a clean break for all.
So let me understand this: Baffert will forsake a Grade 1 for a million dollars at the same distance against straight 3-year-olds to run for $300,000 against older fillies and mares in a Grade 2 leaving one less week of recovery time into the Distaff.
Now if I were a snarky commentator on a certain disinformation news organization I’d say: “So isn’t it fair to ask what’s going on here? How does this scenario make any sense? What are they trying to avoid?” More on Parx to come.
Breeders’ Cup wise-guys like checking out Florida’s juvenile ship-ins, a group that has some success sneaking into the bottom of verticals at big prices. So it will be worth watching, and we will be, a pair of $400,000 pots for Florida-bred babies going 1-1/16 miles; the In Reality for him, the My Dear Girl for her.
In the My Dear Girl, some rivals might have a plan to outfox the connections of the favorite but the problem is finding a filly to outrun Outfoxed (4-5).
Bill Mott trained filly finished third on debut at Saratoga behind eventual Spinaway winner Echo Zulu then shipped to SoFla and won the Susan’s Girl prep for this by 13 as a maiden. Pole sitter is clearly the fastest and hot-riding Zayas takes the return call. Logical suspects include Susans Girl runnerup and My Sassenach (6-1).
The one intriguing entrant is Chacalosa (4-1), the recent Arlington-Washington Lassie winner making her first start on dirt, first start for Larry Rivelli and beneath Emisael Jaramillo. Her pedigree suggests added ground should pose no problem. Outfoxed is her and everyone else’s problem.
The In Reality is more open on paper but there is talent clustered at the top: Octane (2-1), who won the Affirmed by nearly 4 lengths over runnerup Cajun’s Magic (5-2), the beaten favorite who is better posted for the rematch.
In behind the two favorites are two with a puncher’s chance on paper, show finisher Big and Classy (6-1) and Cattlin (8-1) who chugged along for fourth in that event.
G2 Kelso Handicap Race 4
A: 2-Life Is Good (1-9)
B: 1-Fort Peck (15-1)
C: 3-Chance It (4-1)
G3 Athenia Stakes Race 10
A: 4-Pocket Square (3-5), 1-Lake Lucerne (5-1)
B: 2-Miss Teheran (9-5)
C: 3-Made In Italy (3-1)
Hollywood Beach Stakes Race 4
A: 7-Nerve (5-2), 9-Last Leaf (2-1)
B: 3-Barone Cesco (6-1), 8-Peter D (2-1)
C: 10-R Girl’s Werth It (15-1)
My Dear Girl Stakes Race 9
A: 1-Outfoxed (4-5)
B: 8-My Sassenach (6-1)
C: 3-Devilette (5-1), 6-Sequin Lady (15-1)
In Reality Stakes Race 11
A: 2-Cajun’s Magic (5-2)
B: 5-Big and Cheesy (6-1), 9-Cattin (8-1), 7-Octane (2-1)
C: 3-The Skipper Too (10-1)
G2 GALLANT BOB Race 10
A: 7-Jackie’s Warrior (4-5)
B: 1-Real Talk (5-1), 6-Beren (6-1)
C: 4-Pickin’ Time (10-1)
G1 Cotillion Stakes Race 11
A: 5-Army Wife (7-2), 6-Clairiere (2-1)
B: 1-Obligatory (10-1), 4-Maracuja (8-1)
C: 3-Will’s Secret (12-1), 9-Leader of the Band (12-1)
G1 Pennsylvania Derby* Race 12
*Early line do not reflect withdrawal of 2-1 Medina Spirit
A: 7-Hot Rod Charlie (5-2), 8-Midnight Bourbon (5-1)
B: 10-American Revolution (15-1), 3-Speaker’s Corner (12-1), 2-Keepmeinmind (8-1)
C: 4-Weyburn (12-1)
When more than one horse is listed in a category, preference is for first horse listed. Contenders can move up or down in grade, but no more than one level
(this is a live column that will be updated periodically through Saturday)