Mister Nofty a potential crowd pleaser at Parx on Saturday
Saturday's featured ninth race at Parx is the $100,000 Crowd Pleaser, an about 1 1/16-mile grass test for Pennsylvania-bred three-year-olds. A field of 10 was entered, but far fewer appear legitimate win threats on paper.
Mister Nofty (#4, 9-2) is riding a two-race win streak into the Crowd Pleaser and might be hard-pressed to make it three in a row, but there is much to like about him. He's a son of the late and sorely-missed Scat Daddy, whose influence has been felt around the globe, and out of a daughter of Bernardini, making him one of the best-bred horses in the field. Also noteworthy is that he hails from the family of Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Blushing K. D., Canadian champion turf mare Ambitious Cat, and Hong Kong Horse of the Year Electronic Unicorn, who were all half-siblings.
Although he didn't break his maiden until June 12, he did so stylishly over the Parx main track by 4 3/4 lengths, and came right back two weeks later to beat allowance company by almost the same margin. He debuted back in December, losing his first three outings, but was very effective in his lone turf try to date in a Tampa Bay Downs maiden in February finishing a length behind Aquaphobia, a colt that has since gone on to win or place in stakes at Pimlico and Delaware and only lost the Belmont Derby (G1) by 4 1/4 lengths against an international field earlier this month.
Mister Nofty has shown speed in his last three starts, indeed led wire-to-wire in his two victories, but rivals Saratoga Jack and Balk might prove faster out of the stalls while breaking inside Mister Nofty. If Mister Nofty can work out a stalking trip, he might get the jump on early favorite Wychmere, who likes to come from the back and is two-for-two on turf.
Mister Nofty has earned competitive BRIS Speed ratings in his last two and is 2nd in BRIS Prime Power (139.7), less than a point behind the speedy Saratoga Jack, who has not yet tried the grass. Trainer Keith Nations is winning at a 25 percent clip at Parx (20 percent overall this year), and the colt turned in an impressive five-furlong breeze of :59 4/5 in advance of his stakes debut.