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Parx Racing’s biggest weekend of the year attracted a star-studded eight-stakes lineup that showcased some of the sport’s very best while also offering up some surprise winners, but over at Belmont Park, the weekend’s chalk-fest that was the stakes action nonetheless produced an absolute eye-popping victor.
With several Breeders’ Cup ramifications worthy of mention, here’s who made our latest Three Stars of the Week:
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Another matchup between Hot Rod Charlie and Midnight Bourbon, another inquiry. Unlike in the Haskell Stakes (G1), however, Midnight Bourbon stayed upright and Hot Rod Charlie survived the review to finally get his elusive Grade 1 win. His tactical speed gives jockey Flavien Prat options no matter who he faces and he hasn’t run a bad race in his life. He looms a dangerous threat in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).
The nation’s best dirt sprinter left little doubt to his supremacy with a romping 6 3/4-length score in Saturday’s Gallant Bob Stakes (G2) at Parx. Jockey Joel Rosario never had to shift the Steve Asmussen trainee out of first gear, despite the colt facing inside pace pressure through the opening 1/2-mile of the race. After yet another simply dominating performance, he’ll head to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) as the clear-cut, no-questions-asked favorite despite being just 3 years old.
How fitting that on the same day that Jackie’s Warrior – the only horse to ever cross the wire ahead of Life Is Good – romps in a sprint stakes, the very likely Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) favorite won Saturday’s Kelso Handicap (G2) at Belmont Park in similarly easy, eye-popping fashion. He will be a popular single on the second day of the World Championships at Del Mar and trainer Todd Pletcher has spaced out the starts perfectly while the colt returns from injury. He might have the most raw talent of any horse in a 3-year-old crop that might be the best we’ve seen since American Pharoah’s class of 2015.
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