Owner-breeder George Krikorian leads Big Score, Javier Castellano up, into the Keeneland winner’s circle following the Transylvania Stakes
George Krikorian’s graded stakes winner Big Score heads a field of 10 in the marquee event of Penn National’s racing season as he contests the $ 500,000 Penn Mile, which will be run as the first Grade 2 in track history this Saturday. In only four editions, the Penn Mile has become an important stop on the 3-year-old turf circuit and headlines a card that includes 11 races worth more than $ 1.4 million in purses.
On Wednesday’s planeload, a pair of Penn Mile runners from California touched down, including Big Score, the winner of the Grade 3 Transylvania at Keeneland in April. The Tim Yakteen trainee looked sharp off the bench winning the Transylvania and followed that up with a third-place effort in the American Turf (G2) on the Kentucky Derby undercard when the son of Mr. Big looked poised to strike but couldn’t reel in Arklow in the stretch,
Preakness winning rider Javier Castellano will be on board Big Score on Saturday as he breaks from Post 8.
Also on the plane from California was Hronis Racing and Little Red Feather Racing Club’s Cistron who comes in from his Santa Anita base to break from post 4. Paco Lopez gets the initial call on the Kentucky bred son of the Factor who has been praised for his mentality and versatility by trainer John Sadler. A winner of the Northern Spur on dirt two back at Oaklawn, Cistron tried the unique Santa Anita downhill turf course last time out running a solid second as the favorite in the Desert Code. Never off the board in four turf tries, Cistron figures to be well backed in the Penn Mile
Mike Maker, Todd Pletcher and George Weaver each have a pair entered in the lucrative event. Pletcher’s duo includes Bonus Points who overcame trouble to take the Parx Derby in his most recent start on the main track. Winless in two turf tries, the distance is right for this horse who is starting to blossom. The other Pletcher entry is Bronson who gets saddled with the rail. With a win in the English Channel on the Gulfstream Park grass most recently, the surface shouldn’t be a question for the well-bred son of Medaglia d’Oro.
Tyler Gaffalione gets tapped for the assignment on Bronson this Saturday.
The aforementioned Bonus Points is one of the trio Three Diamonds Farm will send out in the Penn Mile in hopes of landing the top prize as they will also be represented by Shiraz and Prize Fight, both from the barn of Mike Maker. New York bred Shiraz seeks his first win since his maiden score in October of 2016 while his stable mate has been on the improve, breaking his maiden for $ 20,000 and garnering some black type in the Sophomore Turf last time out at Tampa Bay Downs.
Due to common ownership, Bonus Points, Shiraz and Prize Fight will all run as a coupled entry for wagering purposes.
Post 6 will hold Holiday Stone who was a narrowly defeated second in the Transylvania two back. When looking to rebound, he was hindered with the rail in the American Turf fading late to finish 8th. In addition to Holiday Stone, trainer George Weaver will saddle Mo Maverick, most recently third behind the talented Yoshida in the James W. Murphy on Preakness day.
The field is rounded out by Frostmourne from the Christophe Clement barn, who finished second in the Woodhaven on the Aqueduct turf course in his three-year-old debut and Time to Travel who will be making his first start on the turf for trainer Michael Matz.
The Penn Mile day program gets underway with a special start time of 3:45 P.M. EST, with the Penn Mile itself scheduled as Race 9 and will go postward at 7:45 P.M. EST. The Penn Mile will cap an all-stakes Pick 4 that gets underway in Race 6.
$ 500,000 PENN MILE (G2)
June 3, 2017; Race 9 – Post time 7:45pm EST
3YO, 1 Mile (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Bronson, Tyler Gaffalione, 122, Todd A. Pletcher
2a. Shiraz, Kendrick Carmouche, 116, Michael J. Maker
3. Time to Travel, Edgar S. Prado, 116, Michael R. Matz
4. Cistron, Paco Lopez, 118, John W. Sadler
5. Mo Maverick, Feargal Lynch, 116, George Weaver
6. Holiday Stone, Luis Saez, 116, George Weaver
7a. Bonus Points, John Bisono, 118, Todd A. Pletcher
8. Big Score, Javier Castellano, 122, Tim Yakteen
9a. Prize Fight, Kendrick Carmouche, 116, Michael J. Maker
10. Frostmourne, Irad Ortiz, Jr., 122, Christophe Clement
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