Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby comes our way from Parx Racing in Belsalem, Pennsylvania this Saturday, September 19. A group of three year olds will take to Parx's dirt track and race 1 1/16 miles for a purse of $1 million.
A superb field of 10 will line up in the Pennsylvania Derby - race 10 on Parx's Saturday schedule. Post time is 5:45 PM. Here is a peek into the past performances of all 10 combatants for this intriguing Grade 2 stakes.
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2015 Pennsylvania Derby Race Favorite Entries
Frosted 5-2 - Kiaran McLaughlin trained colt raced in stakes company for the first time November 29 and finished a respectable second as 9-5 favorite in the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct and followed that with another good runner-up finish - behind Upstart in the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream January 24. He has placed in his last three starts overall as well - last time out was a third behind Keen Ice and American Pharoah in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes August 29 after consecutive runner-up finishes - behind Texas Red in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes August 1 and behind American Pharoah in the Belmont Stakes June 6. Before those results were a troubled fourth in the Kentucky Derby and a huge statement with a win by two lengths in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct April 4. That makes two wins, six seconds and a third place finish in 11 career starts with his win five starts back raising a few eyebrows. Joel Rosario has the mount aboard the consistent threat, 124 pound highweight and morning line favorite from gate 3.
Madefromlucky 4-1 - Todd Pletcher trained colt has 10 career starts with four wins, two seconds and a third place finish. He has been in there with some tough competition so far with OK results. Last time out was a great win in the Grade 2 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer August 1. It followed a disappointing sixth in the Belmont Stakes, an easy win in the Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes May 9, a fourth behind American Pharoah in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park April 11, a good second behind American Pharoah in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes on that same track March 14 and two straight wins at Gulfstream to start his year - a maiden score and an Allowance Optional Claiming in February. Madefromlucky has won two of his last three starts overall and will be out to continue the momentum Saturday. John Velazquez rides from post 5.
Pennsylvania Derby 2015 | Remaining Contenders
Gimme Da Lute 5-1 - Bob Baffert trained colt has placed in all nine career starts - six wins, a second and two third place finishes. He enters on a terrific four race win streak - the minor El Cajon Stakes August 29 and the minor Real Good Deal Stakes August 2 (both results at Del Mar), the Grade 2 Los Alamitos Derby July 4 and the Grade 3 Affirmed Stakes in June. He also won the minor Echo Eddie Stakes in dominating fashion in his stakes debut April 4 and has finished third in consecutive stakes starts after that - the minor Chick Lang Stakes as 9-5 favorite at Pimlico May 16 and the Grade 3 Pat Day Mile Stakes at Churchill Downs May 2. Gimme Da Lute has been competitive every time out and hopes to make it five straight wins when he leaves from gate 6 with Martin Garcia in the irons.
Upstart 9-2 - Richard Violette trained colt finished an OK third behind American Pharoah in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational August 2 and followed that with a fourth in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga August 29. Those results followed a disappointing last of eighteen in the Kentucky Derby and consecutive seconds - in the Grade 1 Florida Derby March 28 and after crossing the line first and being disqualified after it was ruled he interfered with Itsaknockout in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes February 2. He also had a dominant win by 5 1/2 lengths in the competitive Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes January 24, a good third behind Texas Red and Carpe Diem in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and second behind Daredevil in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park October 4. Upstart has placed in eight of 10 career starts (three wins, three seconds and two third place finishes) and has been in every race in his career so far except for one. Irad Ortiz will be in charge of getting Upstart his first win since January when they leave from post 9 Saturday.
Iron Fist 8-1 - has placed in five of seven career starts since for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer - two wins, two seconds and a third place finish. He enters on the heels of a fourth place finish in the Grade 2 West Virginia Derby August 1 and consecutive wins - an Allowance Optional Claiming at Santa Anita June 28 and a maiden score on that same track in May. He also had an OK third in his only other stakes action to date - the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity last September. Iron Fist has been OK so far in his career but looks for a first ever stakes score Saturday with Mike Smith in the reins from gate 4.
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Tommy Macho 10-1 - will race for the sixth time for trainer Todd Pletcher having recorded two wins and two third place finishes so far. Last time out was a disappointing seventh in the Grade 2 West Virginia Derby August 1 which followed a respectable third in his stakes debut - the Grade 3 Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park July 4 and consecutive wins - the best of which was an Allowance also at Belmont Park in June. Tommy Macho had looked OK before last time out and hopes for a bounce back effort Saturday. Javier Castellano has the mount from post 7.
Island Town 10-1 - Ian Wilkes trained gelding has four wins and a second place finish in eight career starts and enters this weekend off a good win on this track - the Grade 3 Smarty Jones Stakes August 29. Before that was a disappointing fifth in the Grade 2 Indiana Derby July 18, a score in his graded stakes debut - the Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs June 13 and an Allowance Optional Claiming win on that same track in May. Island has won three of his last four starts overall - very competitive the last five months. Brian Joseph Hernandez has been tabbed to ride Island Town from gate 2 Saturday.
Mr. Z 10-1 - has just two wins in 17 career starts for trainer D. Wayne Lukas and enters off a seventh place finish in the Grade 1 King's Bishop Stakes at Saratoga August 29. He did look good in his previous two starts however- a second in the Grade 2 Indiana Derby July 18 followed a win in the minor Ohio Derby at Thistletown June 20. Before that result were two off-the-board finishes against top competition - a fifth in the Preakness Stakes and a thirteenth in the Kentucky Derby. He does have four third place finishes the last 10 months as well including the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby in April and the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes in February. Mr. Z hasn't been scared of top competition in his career yet and enters in typically inconsistent. Luis Saez gets the mount from the outside post 10.
War Story 20-1 - has placed in his six of eight career starts - two wins, two seconds and two third place finishes but had failed to his the board in two starts before a third last time out in the Grade 2 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer August 1. Two starts back was a fourth after a poor start in the minor Ohio Derby at Thistletown June 20 after a sixteenth place finish in the Kentucky Derby. Before the Derby was a third in the Grade 3 Louisiana Derby March 28 and runner-up finishes in the Grade 2 Risen Star and Grade 3 LeComte Stakes this year - all results at Fair Grounds. War Story seems to be over an early summer slump and hopes for his first ever graded stakes win when he leaves from the rail with Deshawn Parker aboard.
Battle Midway 20-1 - Nick Zito trained gelding has just one win and a third place finish in six career starts and enters off a respectable third in his stakes debut - the Grade 3 Smarty Jones Stakes on this track August 29. He failed to place in his previous three starts. Battle Midway hasn't done much to give us the notion that a huge upset is in the works. Aaron Gryder has been tabbed with attempting to produce that shock from gate 8.
2015 Pennsylvania Derby Entries & Odds
Race 10 on Parx Racing's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:45 PM.
|1||War Story||D. Parker||J. Radosevich|
|2||Island Town||B. Hernandez, Jr.||I. Wilkes|
|3||Frosted||J. Rosario||K. McLaughlin|
|4||Iron Fist||M. Smith||J. Hollendorfer|
|5||Madefromlucky||J. Velazquez||T. Pletcher|
|6||Gimme Da Lute||M. Garcia||B. Baffert|
|7||Tommy Macho||J. Castellano||T. Pletcher|
|8||Battle Midway||A. Gryder||N. Zito|
|9||Upstart||I. Ortiz, Jr.||R. Violette, Jr.|
|10||Mr. Z||L. Saez||D. Lukas|