Connect shakes up division further with Pennsylvania Derby upset

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

September 24th, 2016

Connect parlayed a ground-saving trip into a 10-1 upset of Saturday's $1,250,000 Pennsylvania Derby (G2) at Parx, fending off the wide-rallying Gun Runner by nearly a length and divisional stalwarts Nyquist and Exaggerator by larger margins.

Under Javier Castellano, Connect completed nine furlongs on a fast track in 1:50 1/5 and paid $23.20. Finishing third was Wild About Deb, and My Man Sam was fourth.

Owned by Paul Pompa and trained by Chad Brown, Connect was exiting a disappointing sixth-place effort in the Travers (G1) behind runaway winner Arrogate, who perhaps benefited the most from the Pennsylvania Derby result.

In the race for champion three-year-old colt honors, the candidacies of Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Nyquist, who has dropped three straight, and Preakness (G1) winner Exaggerator, who can't seem to replicate his best form on dry ground, took a hit. Arrogate, whose lone stakes appearance was his record-setting victory in the Travers, now heads to the Breeders' Cup Classic as arguably the best three-year-old prospect.

Connect, who captured two of his first three starts, won on stakes debut in the $100,000 Curlin at Saratoga in late July, but broke poorly from an outside post and finished more than 21 lengths behind in the Travers. However, this payday puts him within hailing distance of $1 million in career earnings from a line of 6-4-0-1.

Bred in the Kentucky by Fox Straus, Connect is by Curlin and out of the Holy Bull mare Bullville Belle.