Tipsheet: 2022 Pennsylvania Derby

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

September 22nd, 2022

An excellent field of 11 sophomores will travel nine furlongs on the Parx dirt in Saturday’s $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (G1).

Pennsylvania Derby Picks

  • #7 Tawny Port
  • #8 Taiba
  • #1 Zandon
  • #5 Cyberknife

Pennsylvania Derby Wagers

  • $20 win and place: #7 Tawny Port
  • 50-cent superfecta: 7 with 1, 5, 8 with 1, 5, 8 with all 

Pennsylvania Derby Contenders

#1 ZANDON (5-1) stormed home a fine winner of the Blue Grass S. (G1) in April and has placed in a trio of huge races since, including a third-place showing in the Travers S. (G1) last time out. The Upstart colt has never missed the board in his lifetime, and the late runner should appreciate the amount of early speed signed on for this tilt. Joel Rosario picks up the mount.

#2 ICY STORM (30-1) has been performing in low-level claiming races for the most part this season and would be a huge surprise on this occasion. The Keen Ice colt looks overmatched, in my opinion.

#3 B DAWK (20-1) was a smart allowance winner at Ellis Park most recently in advance of his Grade 1 debut for Doug O’Neill. The Gormley colt is clearly talented, and he might appreciate the added distance, but he is hard to back for a top-three finish in this deep field. The chestnut will have local standout Frankie Pennington in the controls.

#4 SKIPPYLONGSTOCKING (10-1) proved that his third-place finish in the Belmont S. (G1) was no fluke when taking the West Virginia Derby (G3) over a solid cast most recently. The Exaggerator colt is 2-for-3 at the trip and could grind his way into a top-four finish with his best performance beneath Edwin Gonzalez.

#5 CYBERKNIFE (3-1) is an underrated two-time Grade 1 winner who surely could make noise on this occasion. The Gun Runner chestnut has been first or second in eight of 10 lifetime tries, and the Kentucky-bred has gotten really good as of late. The Gold Square color bearer will track the pace early on with regular rider Florent Geroux in the silks.

#6 WE THE PEOPLE (12-1) finished clear in second after setting the tempo in the West Virginia Derby (G3) last time out for Rodolphe Brisset. The Peter Pan S. (G3) romper will bring pace and talent to the field, and the Constitution colt lures Flavien Prat off of another contender in the group. The $230,000 yearling purchase will be in the mix from the opening bell.

#7 TAWNY PORT (6-1) gets top billing as one of two major contenders for Brad Cox. The dual Grade 3 victor has shown continued improvement in his career and has been pointing for this race since late July for a conditioner who is superb off the shelf. A game third in the Jim Dandy (G2) most recently, the Pioneerof the Nile colt will be in the second or third flight early with Irad Ortiz Jr. in the silks.

#8 TAIBA (5-2) will aim to give Bob Baffert a fourth win in the race. The fantastic Grade 1 hero was a head second in the Haskell (G1) in his latest venture and has a lot of room for improvement while making just his fifth career try to date. The $1.7 million son of Gun Runner is training in sharp fashion and will have the services of regular jock Mike Smith once again.

#9 SIMPLIFICATION (10-1) rates as an exotics contender with his top showing for Antonio Sano. The son of Not This Time was an even third over a sloppy surface at Mountaineer last time out, and he will make a forward move in his second run since May. The Florida-bred will have Paco Lopez in the stirrups.

#10 NAVAL AVIATOR (20-1) shows improving Brisnet Speed numbers as of late and exits a strong second-place run in a Saratoga allowance tilt last time out. However, the dark bay son of Tapit will still need major improvement to be in the hunt late against this accomplished field on Saturday.

#11 WHITE ABARRIO (8-1) earned his biggest win to date in the Florida Derby (G1), but the Saffie Joseph trainee has been trounced in two of his three tries since. The Race Day gray was a smart second in the Ohio Derby (G3) two prior, but it’s hard to trust him due to his inconsistency right now. The outside post draw makes his task even more difficult.