Wednesday Penn National card looks appealing

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Ted Black

November 25th, 2015

While many Americans will be traveling tomorrow on their various destinations for Thanksgiving Day festivities, a bevy of horse players should find the Wednesday card at Penn National rather appealing.

A trio of stakes races highlight the Wednesday card with the $200,000 Fabulous Strike Stakes serving as the feature presentation of the night.

Carded as the fourth race on the program the Fabulous Strike features Pennsylvania-bred star Favorite Tale, most recently third in the Grade I Breeders Cup Sprint.

Trained by Guadalupe Preciado, Favorite Tale has won twice in six starts this year, highlighted by a four-length score in the Grade II Smile Handicap at Gulfstream Park. He would later finish third in the Grade I Vanderbilt at Saratoga.

Looking to upend Favorite Tale are the  top two finishers in the Maryland Million Sprint, Jack's in the Deck and the venerable Ben's Cat, the two -time defending champion of this event.

Ben's Cat is also the four-time Maryland-bred horse of the year for owner-breeder-trainer and Hall of Famer King T. Leatherbury. Ben's Cat has won 30 of 52 lifetime starts and banked nearly $2.5 million, but he has not been as sharp this season as in years past and will be hard pressed to three-peat against Favorite Tale.

One race earlier a solid group of older horses will go postward in the $100,000 Swatara Stakes at one-mile and one-sixteenth.

Page McKenny, a winner four times in nine starts this year with seasonal earnings of over $530,000, has won four stakes this year for trainer Mary Eppler and has raced well in graded stakes and looms the one to beat here.

Another horse with plenty of graded stakes experience rates a solid upset chance. Kid Cruz, winner of the Grade III Dwyer, third in the Jim Dandy and fourth in the Travers last year at age three, has yet to win in four starts this year for trainer Linda Rice but looms a formidable foe.

Todd Pletcher rarely sends anything to Penn National, so the presence of Catron has to be respected. Catron has won four of nine starts overall, but he has yet to capture a stakes. He may be hard to digest at a short price.

One race earlier in the $75,000 Blue Mountain Stakes for Pennsylvania-bred two-year-old fillies, all eyes will be on Behrnik's Bank. An emphatic, 18-length winner of her career debut over the track in 1:09.64 - a clocking that would make her competitive in the Fabulous Strike - Behrnik's Bank will be looking to prove that her sparkling 14-1 upset at first asking was not a fluke.

But those looking to play against her might try Imply, who has won twice in three starts and already owns a stakes score. Imply owns the edge in experience, but will it be enough to overhaul Behrnik's Bank in this affair.