The Player’s Edge – September 20, 2013: Parx Racing & Barretts at Fairplex

Matt Carter

September 20th, 2013


Parx Racing - Cotillion Stakes

Parx Racing - Pennsylvania Derby

Parx Racing - Gallant Bob Stakes

Barretts Race Meet - Pomona Derby


Parx Racing - Cotillion Stakes Close Hatches One to Beat

The Saturday card at Parx Racing in Philadelphia is a great one with the Grade 1 Cotillion and Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby. Up first is the Cotillion, which drew a field of nine, led by the morning line favorite Close Hatches.

Close Hatches has not run since demolishing her rivals in the Grade 1 Mother Goose in June at Belmont Park. After that race she developed a temperature and missed some time training, but is back to stamp herself as the top three-year-old filly in the country.

She did not; however, pick an easy spot as there are some other fillies in the race that are not just going to lay down and let the favorite win. The best of those may be Sweet Lulu.

By Mr. Greeley, Sweet Lulu has started her career off with four straight wins at four different tracks over three different surfaces. She was a game winner of the Grade 1 Test at Saratoga, pictured above, in her last start and she is ready to roll back on the east coast from her California base. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer knows how to ship into Philly and win.

My Happy Face ran against Sweet Lulu in the Test and may have been best. There was a pronounced speed bias that day and for some reason jockey Mike Smith took the Tiz Wonderful filly from well off the pace. My Happy Face may have also been closer to the grandstand than the inner rail so with a jockey switch and the return to a route of ground, she may just run them off their feet.

Carnival Court, third in the Grade 1 Alabama, and Seaneen Girl, winner of the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks, add speed to the field. Prior to the Monmouth Oaks, Seaneen Girl was racing from off the pace, but in the Oaks she was in front shortly after the gates opened and drew off to win by six. Expect her to be close again on Saturday.

No local horses in the field, which is always a good handicapping angle, so the top shippers look to have the race to themselves. For a long shot, look at Dancing Afleet, winner of the Grade 2 Delware Oaks in mid-July, and Promise Me More, second in the Grade 3 Rachel Alexandra in February at Fair Grounds.

The Cotillion is the third leg of the late pick-4 with post time scheduled for 5:10 pm ET.


Parx Racing - Pennsylvania Derby Will Take Charge and Moreno Meet Again

The feature on Saturday at Parx is the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby for three-year-old colts and gelding. A field of eight will line up for the $1-million race including the first and second place finishers from the Grade 1 Travers.

Moreno has turned into a different horse since early April and has really come around in New York. The gelded son of Ghostzapper won the Grade 2 Dwyer at Belmont in July then was third in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy and second in the Grade 1 Travers at Saratoga. The Travers, for the connections, was a travesty as the horse nearly ran wire-to-wire, just getting nipped by a nose at the wire.

While the horse that beat him, Will Take Charge, is back in the Pennsylvania Derby, the first choice is Moreno as the shorter nine furling distance suits him better. Will Take Charge takes a little more to get going and may find the Parx track tiring.

That's not to say that Will Take Charge is not a top horse. The Unbridled's Song colt cost $425,000 as a yearling and was good enough to win the Grade 2 Rebel at Oaklawn Park in March. He encountered some trouble in the Kentucky Derby then was tenth of 14 in the Belmont. After a second in the Jim Dandy, Will Take Charge found he got stronger as the race got longer. Jockey Luis Saez will once again need a well-timed ride to get the job done.

Transparent and Romansh are the Goldolphin entry in the Pennsylvania Derby, both coming out of the Travers as well. Transparent was ninth with Romansh fifth. As a coupled entry, the two are 8-1 on the morning line and may represent some value.

The most interesting horse in the field is not one of the horses coming out of the Travers; it is Fury Kapcori, runner up in the El Cajon stakes at Del Mar last month. Fury Kapcori was second in the Grade 1 Cash Call Futurity at Hollywood Park as a two-year-old and is making his third start off the layoff on Saturday.

Rounding out the field are Speak Logistics, second in the Grade 3 Smart Jones last out at Parx, Battier, winner of a restricted stakes at Aqueduct in April, and Java's War, winner of the Grade 2 Blue Grass at Keeneland earlier this year. Java's War is a stone-cold closer and that may not be the right running style over the Parx surface.

Post time for the Pennsylvania Derby is 5:45 pm ET.


Parx Racing - Gallant Bob Stakes Wide Open Field of Sprinters Go Six

The second leg of the late pick-4 on Saturday at Parx is the Grade 3 Gallant Bob and races to handicap do not get any tougher than this. A full field of 14 will line up for the six furlong sprint with Rainbow Heir the 3-1 morning line favorite.

Rainbow Heir won the first four starts of his career then failed to fire in the Grade 2 Amsterdam at Saratoga in late July. By Wildcat Heir, Rainbow Heir has been off since that race and only shows three published works since. His last may be key as it came over the track.

Clearly Now is the 4-1 second choice having won three of his eight career starts with two seconds and three thirds. The Horse Greeley colt has yet to finish out-of-the-money and should be used in trifecta and superfecta plays. Trainer Brian Lynch has been prepping the colt at his home base at Woodbine.

Rainbow Heir is a speed horse, but it is highly unlikely he beats Distinctiv Passion to the first call. Distinctiv Passion has nothing but speed and will use it under Edwin Maldonado from post two. Trainer Jeff Bonde would not ship if he didn't think his horse would be competitive.

Also on the front end may be Black Hornet, Amarish and Heaven's Runway, which will set it up for horses like Salutos Amigos, City of Wisdom and Zeewat. Of those three, the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained Zeewat may be the best to back.

Zeewat ships east with his stable mate Sweet Lulu and has won five of his nine career starts. The Harlan's Holiday colt has won two of three on fast dirt including the Cavonier Juvenile in northern California as a two-year-old.

If Salutos Amigos runs back to his maiden breaker in February at Santa Anita then he will be right there at the finish. Since that winning run the son of Salute the Sarge has no wins and just one third in five starts. Trying to figure out which horse shows up is just another reason this race is tough to handicap.

Majestic Hussar is another example with his unbelievable odds of 20-1. Majestic Hussar began his career with a dominant win at Saratoga last year and has won three of seven starts. Yes he was ninth in the King's Bishop, but he was well bet and just could not hold on after chasing swift fractions. There is no way he goes off at 20-1 if ready to show his best.

This is a spread race in the pick-4, which starts with the $75,000 Alphabet Soup on the turf. Post time for the Alphabet Soup is 4:00 pm ET with the Gallant Bob going to post at 4:35.


Barretts Race Meet - Pomona Derby Ten Three-Year-Olds On the Bullring

The Saturday feature at the Barretts Race Meet at Fairplex is the $50,000 Pomona Derby for three-year-olds. The eight and one-half furlong race, around three turns, drew a field of ten; let's take a look.

The morning line favorite for the race is the Bob Baffert-trained Curly Top, who is coming off a seventh place finish in an allowance race over the Polytrack at Del Mar. Curly Top, a son of Curlin, has just one win in his seven start career, breaking his maiden over dirt at Santa Anita. He should improve back on dirt and must to win.

Tree of Life has run over the track before, winning the Barretts Juvenile as a two-year-old one year ago. Since then; however, Tree of Life has failed to win a race, his closest a third place finish to Zeewat in the California Derby in January. Zeewat starts as one of the choices in the Gallant Bob at Parx on Saturday and Fury Kapcori, who finished two spots ahead of Tree of Life in the El Cajon last out, is a choice in the Pennsylvania Derby.

Avare and Too Fast to Pass are next on the morning line and are the two most likely to set the pace. Too Fast to Pass exits sprint races at Del Mar and is making only the second start around at a route of ground in his 15 race career. Avare, on the other hand, has been racing exclusively in races one mile or longer since his second career start. The son of Johannesburg has won on wet dirt and turf so he should not have a problem over the surface.

As far as long shots go, perhaps Syndicated is the one to wager on. Syndicated is trained by Michael Pender, who has won five of his nine starts at the meet. Syndicated had a ready-made prep race over the track two weeks ago and while he did not win, he was three and one-quarter lengths clear of the third place finisher. Win or lose, Syndicated is worth a bet.

Carded as race 11 on the 12-race card, post time for the Pomona Derby on Saturday is 8:10 pm ET.


Thoroughbred Racing Action

Great racing action from across the country this weekend. Watch these races all on BetAmerica.com.

Saturday– September 21
  • Parx:  Cotillion Stakes - G1, $1-million, 3yo f, 8.5f
  • Parx:  Pennsylvania Derby - G2, $1-million, 3yo, 9f
  • Parx:  Gallant Bob Handicap - G3, $300,000, 3yo, 6f
  • Parx:  Alphabet Soup Handicap, $75,000, 3yo & up, 8.5f turf
  • Charles Town:  Charles Town Oaks, $400,000, 3yo f, 7f
  • Charles Town:  Researcher Stakes, $400,000, 3yo, 7f
  • Charles Town:  Wild & Wonderful Stakes, $85,000, 3yo & up, 7f
  • Charles Town:  Pink Ribbon Stakes, $50,000, 3yo & up f&m, 7f
  • Charles Town:  Henry Mercer Memorial Stakes, $50,000, 2yo, 4.5f
  • Charles Town:  Its Only Money Stakes, $50,000, 3yo & up, 4.5f
  • Charles Town:  Rachel's Turn Stakes, $50,000, 2yo f, 4.5f
  • Churchill Downs:  Dogwood Stakes, $100,000, 3yo f, 7f
  • Laurel Park:  Frank J. DeFrancis Dash Stakes, $350,000, 3yo & up, 6f
  • Laurel Park:  Laurel Dash, $100,000, 3yo & up, 6f turf
  • Laurel Park:  Jameela Stakes, $100,000, 3yo & up f&m, 6f turf
  • Laurel Park:  Selima Stakes, $100,000, 2yo f, 5.5f turf
  • Laurel Park:  Laurel Futurity, $100,000, 2yo, 5.5f
  • Laurel Park:  Laurel Turf Cup, $100,000, 3yo & up, 12f turf
  • Laurel Park:  Lady Baltimore Stakes, $100,000, 3yo & up f&m, 8.5f turf
  • Woodbine:  La Lorgnette Stakes, $125,000, 3yo f, 8.5f
  • Barretts at Fairplex:  Pomona Derby, $50,000, 3yo & up, 8.5f
  • Barretts at Fairplex:  Las Madrinas Stakes, $50,000, 3yo & up f&m, 8.5f
Sunday – September 22
  • Woodbine:  Overskate Stakes, $125,000, 3yo & up, 7f
  • Barretts at Fairplex:  Ralph M. Hinds Pomona Handicap, $100,000, 3yo & up, 9f