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BENSALEM, PA – Fresh from winning his first start after a 10-month break, Godolphin homebred Speaker’s Corner dives straight into the deep end for his stakes debut to face nine rivals – all proven stakes winners – in Saturday’s $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (G1) at Parx.
The Pennsylvania Derby is a 1 1/8-mile dirt route restricted to 3-year-olds. This year’s edition is the penultimate event on a 13-race card that includes the $1 million Cotillion (G1) and has a local post time of 5:49 PM.
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Here’s a look at the full field for the Pennsylvania Derby:
1. Fulsome 12/1 – After beginning his career with a 4-1-1-0 turf record, he won an April off-turf dirt route in his debut over the surface to kick off a 3-race win streak that included the Oaklawn Stakes and the Matt Winn Stakes (G3). The party ended 2 starts back when he finished third in the Indiana Derby (G3), but he rebounded to win the 1 1/16-mile Smarty Jones Stakes (G3), the local prep, last out.
2. Keepmeinmind 8/1 – He will reportedly scratch due to a foot abscess.
3. Speaker’s Corner 12/1 – He won his second career start last October and appeared poised to make noise on the Kentucky Derby (G1) trail, but injuries sidelined him until August, when he returned to dominate a 7-furlong Saratoga allowance sprint by 5 1/4 lengths. Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, not usually this aggressive after a long layoff, must love this colt’s chances in his first time routing.
4. Weyburn 12/1 – The speedy Ontario-bred skipped competing against his own kind in the $1 million Queen’s Plate and instead targeted this much tougher spot. He does his best running when he can set or press the early pace, as he showed in March’s Gotham Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct, but he looked heavily outmatched in the Jim Dandy last time out when finishing a well-beaten fourth.
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5. I Am Redeemed 20/1 – The local hope takes on graded stakes foes for the first time and carries a 4-3-1-0 record that includes a last-out score by 3 1/2 lengths while routing 1 1/16 miles in the slop against fellow Pennsylvania-breds in the Storm Cat Stakes. While he’s proven over the local course, his lone defeat came in his only prior try against open company optional claimers in career start #2.
6. Bourbonic 12/1 – He rallied from last to upset the 1 1/8-mile Wood Memorial Stakes (G2) in April and earn a place in the Kentucky Derby (G1), where he finished 13th prior to running fifth in the Belmont Stakes (G1). He took 2 months off before resurfacing in the West Virginia Derby (G3), finishing third, and Kendrick Carmouche – aboard for 2 of his 3 career victories including the Wood – returns.
7. Hot Rod Charlie 5/2 – His 6-race streak of hitting the board in dirt routes ended last time out when he crossed the wire first in the Haskell Stakes (G1) but was disqualified to last because he crossed over Midnight Bourbon, forcing that one to fall in the stretch. Regardless of the unfortunate incident, he was the best horse that day and ran way too good to lose the Belmont to Essential Quality.
8. Midnight Bourbon 5/1 – Though his trip and fall in the Haskell was scary to watch live, he seemed no worse for the wear and somehow returned better than ever in the Travers, setting the pace and nearly holding off Essential Quality before missing by a neck. He isn’t the fastest horse entered, but he has tactical speed and is difficult to get past in the stretch. He’s a must-play in all exotics.
9. Medina Spirit 2/1 – The Kentucky Derby winner (whose post-race drug overage reports have his title in jeopardy) will reportedly scratch in favor of competing at Santa Anita Park on October 2 in the Awesome Again Stakes (G1), which is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” for the Classic.
10. Americanrevolution 15/1 – He finished fourth on debut at Keeneland last fall (behind eventual Haskell winner Mandaloun), then transferred to Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher’s care and rattled off 3 straight wins against New York-breds, all at different tracks. He won the 1 1/8-mile Albany Stakes at Saratoga last time out by 5 lengths and jockey Luis Saez rides for the fourth straight start.
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