Tightend Touchdown leads longshot parade in Parx Dash

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

July 11th, 2015

The turf sprint division, East Coast conference, was upended Saturday when longshots dominated the $200,000 Parx Dash (G3).

Performing the equine version of the quarterback sneak was Tightend Touchdown, a 12-1 chance who wore down pacesetter Bold Thunder and then held off 51-1 outsider Mongolian Saturday by a head in a time of :57.19 for five furlongs. Mongol Bull, at 43-1, was 1 1/2 lengths farther back in third.

Mr Amore Stable owns Tightend Touchdown, a six-year-old gelded son of Pure Precision. Jason Servis trains the winner and he was ridden by Frankie Pennington.

There was nothing flukish about Tightend Touchdown's victory, and the $26.80 win mutuel was rather nifty. Most notably a dead-heat second in the 2013 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G1) to Mizdirection, he had finished second three times and third once in four previous tries over the Parx turf course. He was actually favored to win the 2014 edition of this race, but was nosed out by Ben's Cat.

This was easily the best performance from Tightend Touchdown since he last raced at Parx in September. A decent sixth on a return trip to Santa Anita for the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, he was subsequently unplaced three other times, twice in turf sprints at Keeneland and Belmont to start the year.

Tightend Touchdown clearly thrives over this course, and should make his presence felt in the $300,000 Turf Monster H. (G3) on Labor Day. However, as we saw earlier this campaign, he's not the most reliable sort outside Philadelphia.

He gave a very good account of himself in the last two Breeders' Cups at Santa Anita, but won't necessarily find that little extra to prevail at Keeneland in October. As was the case in California, he'll be at a disadvantage running into foes with a history of winning at that track, and the Turf Sprint's honor roll is replete with course-and-distance specialists.

Ben's Cat, the beloved Maryland-bred of King Leatherbury's, failed in his attempt to win the Parx Dash for a fourth consecutive year. He was actually never a factor, and you have to go back a very long way to find such a non-descript running line in his past performances.

Although he was only beaten 2 1/2 lengths in a sixth-place effort, it's safe to say Ben's Cat might finally be starting to show his age. The nine-year-old has won 29 of 49 starts, all but a handful of them stakes, but he's no longer the win machine he was just a season or two ago. Saturday's setback was his seventh loss in his past 10 starts.

Also disappointing Saturday was the 8-5 favorite Power Alert, who was expected to relish the cutback in trip from six furlongs. However, he lacked his customary early zip and turned in only a modest rally for fourth.

Also not keeping pace were Amelia's Wild Ride and the tiring Bold Thunder, each of whom were in the frame in the Pennsylvania Governor's Cup at Penn National and Jim McKay Turf Sprint at Pimlico in May.

(Photo: Barbara Weidl/Equi-Photo)