Brown ready to Connect in Pennsylvania Derby

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

September 21st, 2016

Saturday's $1.25 million Pennsylvania Derby (G2) has attracted a strong field of 12 for the lucrative event at Parx and I think the race could yield some nice payoffs. Kentucky Derby (G1) hero Nyquist and Preakness S. (G1) star Exaggerator are the top draws, but each could be vulnerable in this spot and I will take a look at one with more value.

Chad Brown's Connect fits the profile of a late-blooming sophomore who may have caught up with his fellow three-year-old runners who were ahead of the game this spring and summer, and a 12-1 morning-line price with Javier Castellano riding for one of the top barns in the country is nothing to sneeze at.

The Kentucky-bred son of Curlin had won a trio of races in succession, including a nice tally in the aptly named Curlin Stakes two prior, and he gets a pass for his finish in the Travers (G1) last out when running into the monster Arrogate, who set a track record in his tour-de-force romp. In the historic race, Connect had a poor break and wide trip on a Saratoga oval that was kind to speed and inner post slots, though he did offer a nice middle move before tiring in the lane.

In the Pennsylvania Derby, the tactical dark bay lands in a field with a lot of speed present, both to his outside and inside, and if the colt finishes like he did in his two-turn debut at Saratoga two races back, he might be motoring home at a nice price after saving ground from a good post position.

I suggest playing Connect over Exaggerator, Awesome Slew and the ever-consistent Sunny Ridge in the exotics.

The mighty Songbird will go in the race leading up to the Derby, facing five foes in the $1 million Cotillion S. (G1). The unbeaten and virtually untested Jerry Hollendorfer trainee will face a pair of very nice fillies but given her outside draw, it seems hard to go against the sensational daughter of Medaglia d'Oro.

With that said, I will use Acorn S. (G1) heroine Carina Mia and Kentucky Oaks (G1) victress Cathryn Sophia along with the heavy favorite in multi-race plays. Both have plenty of ability and received perfect preps leading up to this affair. If the top gun has a misstep, and you know what they say about not being able to win ‘em all, surely one of those fillies will reap the rewards.

Adam Coglianese Photography