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BENSALEM, PA – Hot Rod Charlie, the belabored Haskell Stakes (G1) winner who was disqualified for tripping up rival Midnight Bourbon, again faced an inquiry involving that rival – but this time survived it, winning Saturday’s $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (G1) at Parx.
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Hot Rod Charlie exited post 7 as the 4/5 favorite under Flavien Prat and went to the lead heading into the clubhouse turn. With Midnight Bourbon tracking ever so closely off his right hip, Hot Rod Charlie posted opening fractions of :23.52, :47.07, and 1:10.76.
Weyburn made an early move midway down the backstretch to be a clear third heading into the far turn, but his bid soon faltered as Hot Rod Charlie and Midnight Bourbon distanced themselves from their competitors.
Hot Rod Charlie drifted out a bit as he exited the far turn, but Prat quickly corrected him and the Doug O’Neill trainee surged ahead once he straightened out.
Hot Rod Charlie completed the 1 1/8-mile fast dirt route in 1:48.63 while crossing 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Midnight Bourbon, whose jockey (Ricardo Santana Jr.) lodged an objection against Prat for alleged intereference off the far turn.
Upon review, the stewards – who also posted the inquiry sign – opted to make no change to the original order of finish.
New York-bred Americanrevolution made a stretch-running move up to third in his debut against open company rivals, crossing 2 1/4 ahead of a rallying Fulsome.
Bourbonic, Speaker’s Corner, I Am Redeemed, and Weyburn completed the runners.
Keepmeinmind and Medina Spirit scratched from the field restricted to 3-year-olds.
Hot Rod Charlie’s win was his first official victory since he took Midnight Bourbon and several others on a gate-to-wire ride in March’s Louisiana Derby (G2). The Oxbow colt, who was subsequently a narrow third in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and an even closer second in the Belmont Stakes (G1) prior to the Haskell, improved his overall record to 13-3-2-3 with $2,171,200 earned for co-owners Boat Racing, Gainesway Stable, Roadrunner Racing, and William Strauss.
Hot Rod Charlie returned $3.80 to win, $2.60 to place, and $2.10 to show. Midnight Bourbon brought back $3.60 to place and $2.40 to show. Americanrevolution paid $3 to show.
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