Powell’s Spot Plays at Parx Racing on Penn Derby Day

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TwinSpires Staff

September 21st, 2018

by Dick Powell

The temptation on a day like Saturday at Parx Racing, where they will have a bunch of big-money races, is to play them and ignore early opportunities. Yes, the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) and Cotillon Stakes (G1) have $1 million purses and major implications for their respective divisions and the upcoming Breeders’ Cup, but I also like some of the allowance races which are on dirt and have drawn good fields.

We will kick off a Pick 3 in Race 2. There have been 258 six-furlong dirt races run at Parx this year with a speed bias of 75 percent, and 35 percent of them have been won gate to wire. That said, outside posts have an advantage so a speed horse breaking from the outside fits the bill.

Look no farther than GOTHAM GAL (#8) (3-1 ML). She broke her maiden by 12 lengths last out at Monmouth Park in good time when making her dirt debut for trainer Arnaud Delacour. She gets a rider switch to Jose Ortiz, who should be able to break her running.

The morning-line favorite is AFTER RHYTHM (#4) (6-5), who broke her maiden in her fourth career start in an off-the-turf event going 5 1/2 furlongs as the 3-10 favorite. She picks up Irad Ortiz Jr. but I think brother Jose can beat her into the turn with Gotham Gal while racing on the best part of the track.

Race 3 has 11 horses going a mile and 70 yards. The morning-line favorite AQWAAM (#1) (3-1), who broke his maiden second out in an off-the-turf event at Monmouth Park for trainer Chad Brown. He added blinkers that day and the two horses he beat both came back to win next time out. That said, the Bernardini sophomore is a must use in the Pick 3 but appears vulnerable from the rail in a big field.

Trainer Bill Mott sends out OWN AGENDA (#6) (7-2), who broke his maiden two starts back in his two-turn debut at Churchill Downs then did little from post 12 in his turf debut at Saratoga. He adds blinkers and Johnny Velazquez.

ANALYZE THE ODDS (#10) (6-1) is a New York-bred claimed for $80,000 by trainer Jason Servis who makes his open-company debut. He chased the pace going two turns at Saratoga last out in the Albany Stakes, and any horse Servis sends out has to be respected.

Finally, HARANGUE (#7) (8-1) ran into the very classy Exulting two starts back then chased a fast pace on a sloppy track at Saratoga. He has a sneaky chance in here.

Finally, Race 4 is the second division of the first-level allowance event for fillies and mares that was split with Race 2. CATORIA (#7) (9-5) was a big winner in her second career start at Saratoga when she gunned to the front and never looked back at 24-1. She came back there at this level and led to the deep stretch before being caught. I look for her to bounce back here with Luis Saez as the lone speed and will be a single.

Pick 3
4, 8 with 1, 6, 7, 10 with 7

Race 10 is the Cotillon for sophomore fillies and it has three interesting story lines.

MONOMOY GIRL (#2) (3-5) goes for her fifth straight Grade 1 win in this spot while rival WONDER GADOT (#4) (6-1), who was having a good year until she tried top-class males in the Travers Stakes (G1) and finished last of 10, will attempt to bounce back from that effort.

But the fascinating filly is SEPARATIONOFPOWERS (#5) (10-1) for Chad Brown. She won the Frizette Stakes (G1) last year at two going a one-turn mile but had no shot from post 13 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). She made her belated sophomore debut in the July 8 Victory Ride Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park, where she lost all chance stumbling out of the gate going 6 1/2 furlongs, but bounced back in the Test Stakes (G1) at Saratoga to get up by a neck going seven furlongs.

The daughter of Candy Ride showed major talent last year and has had seven weeks to prepare for this, which is when Brown is at his best.

Race 10
Win: 5
Exacta: 2, 4 with 5