The biggest racing day of the Parx calendar will be held this Saturday at the historic thoroughbred track near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
On Saturday, September 14, several of the country’s best 3-year-old females will face off in the $1 million Cotillion Stakes (G1). Along with a hefty paycheck, the winner will receive an all-expenses-paid berth into the Breeders’ Cup Longines Distaff at Santa Anita Park in early November. Two races later, the 3-year-old males will face off in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (G1).
A total of five nonrestricted stakes races will be held at Parx on Saturday. Take a closer look at each one:
Race 7: $150,000 Turf Amazon Stakes, 3YO+ Fillies & Mares, 5 Furlongs (Turf)
Colts Neck Stables sends out the coupled favorites #1 Boos (6/5) and #1A Goldwood (6/5) from the barn of Jorge Duarte, Jr. Goldwood figures to be the better of the two as she rides a four-race win streak – all minor stakes at Monmouth Park – into this event.
“It’s not easy to do what she has done, winning four stakes races in one meet,” said Duarte, Jr. “Everything went smoothly with her this summer. She stayed sound and healthy and the races came up spaced at the right time. To get that done, everything has to work out perfectly, and it did.”
TOP PICK: #1A Goldwood (6/5)
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Race 8: $400,000 Parx Dirt Mile Stakes, 3YO+, 1 Mile (Dirt)
Trainer Todd Pletcher is hoping that a class drop will put #6 Coal Front (1/1) back in the winner’s circle. Earlier this year, he shipped to Dubai to win the Godolphin Mile (G2) for the biggest score of his career, but his two subsequent starts were disappointing. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith will hop aboard for the first time a horse who won the 2017 Gallant Bob Stakes (G3) in his lone prior Parx appearance.
TOP PICK: #8 Diamond King (5/1)
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Race 9: $300,000 Gallant Bob Stakes (G2), 3YO, 6 Furlongs
Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer made the trip east from California with one of his up-and-coming colts, #7 King Jack (2/1). Unraced at age 2, King Jack won his first two starts this year before finishing second in the Shared Belief Stakes behind Improbable, the 8/5 favorite in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby later on the same card.
“We got a little more behind the pace than we intended to and it was hard to close ground,” Hollendorfer said about the four-horse Shared Belief. “We thought running second in that race was a pretty good race going around two turns.”
The son of Jimmy Creed will make his first start outside the state of California.
TOP PICK: #7 King Jack (2/1)
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Race 10: $1 Million Cotillion Stakes (G1), 3YO Fillies, 1 1/16 Miles
Trainer Chad Brown’s unbeaten filly #8 Guarana (9/5) will look to keep her hot streak alive as she takes on 10 other sophomores, including the Kentucky Oaks (G1) champion #1 Serengeti Empress (7/2). After breaking her maiden by over 14 lengths at Keeneland, the daughter of Ghostzapper followed that with a big effort in the Acorn Stakes (G1), then showed a game fighting ability in the CCA Oaks (G1) in mid-July.
“We’ve been pointing for this race for a while,” Brown said. “She’s had plenty of time to recover since her last race and we were glad to give her that time. I couldn’t be happier with her the way she’s training. It’s a very solid race. She drew well, in the clear there a bit. She’s really doing well. The distance of a mile and 1/16 will help her, too. I wasn’t really looking to get her out to a mile and 1/4. The Cotillion makes a lot of sense and we’ll see how she does.”
TOP PICK: #8 Guarana (9/5)
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Race 11: $1 Million Pennsylvania Derby (G1), 3YO, 1 1/8 Miles
The late defection of multiple Grade 1 winner Maximum Security pushed trainer Bob Baffert’s #2 Improbable (8/5) to favoritism on the revised morning line. After disappointing as the bettors’ choice in both the Kentucky Derby (G1) and the Preakness Stakes (G1), the son of City Zip received a brief freshening. An easy victory in the Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar on August 25 served as his prep for his final showdown before hopefully running in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
“It’s a big race and I want to see the horse win it,” Baffert said. “We thought so highly of him earlier in the year. He has been like the young recruit who hasn’t shown his best stuff yet. Hopefully, this can put him back in the 3-year-old picture.”
TOP PICK: #2 Improbable (8/5)
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