Nyquist holds off Exaggerator to win the Kentucky Derby; the colts will have a rematch in this Saturday’s Pennsylvania Derby
Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist and Preakness winner Exaggerator head a field of twelve three year-olds Saturday afternoon at Parx Racing in the $ 1.25 million G2 Pennsylvania Derby. The nine furlong test is scheduled for 5:45PM local time. The purse has increased to $ 1.25 million this year because of the appearance of two classic winners. Undefeated champion Songbird looks to continue her dominance in the $ 1 million G1 Cotillion Stakes, when she takes on five rivals from the three year-old filly division. Cotillion post time is 4:55PM. First post on Saturday is 12:25PM.
With the three year-old championship still much in the balance, the sixth matchup between Nyquist and Exaggerator takes on added significance as the two renew their rivalry in the Pennsylvania Derby. Following his undefeated two year-old campaign that culminated with a win in the G1 Breeders Cup Juvenile and a two year-old championship, Nyquist, a son of Uncle Mo, opened his three year-old season winning the G2 San Vicente in February at Santa Anita. His three and a half-length victory in the G1 Florida Derby took him to the Kentucky Derby an undefeated colt, having won all seven career starts. A 2-1 favorite in the Derby, he would not disappoint, tracking a wicked pace, he wrested command near the top of the Churchill stretch, and was clearly the winner from that moment forward. However, after that eighth straight win, he comes into the Pennsylvania Derby off consecutive losses in the G1 Preakness and the G1 Haskell, both to Exaggerator and both on sloppy race tracks. Reddam Racing and trainer Doug O’Neill will most certainly hope to see the colt they saw all spring show up at Parx and also be glad to see sunny skies and a dry surface.
As accomplished a colt as Exaggerator has become, he still has one hurdle to clear. At some point, he needs to show he can beat the best of his division on a fast, dry track. The three biggest wins of his career have all come when Mother Nature peppered the track with rain. His G1 Santa Derby win, his G1 Preakness win and his G1 Haskell win all came when the track came up wet. Three powerhouse wins indeed, but three wins nonetheless under circumstances that either he relished or his competitors despised, or maybe both. While he ran a strong second in the Kentucky Derby on a dry track, rallying from fifteenth to finish just behind Nyquist, his last two starts on dry tracks have been big time head scratchers. A lackluster eleventh as the favorite in the G1 Belmont Stakes and again, eleventh as the favorite in the G1 Travers left many puzzled as to the big swings in form. While trainer Keith Desormeaux will probably hope for a shower or three, he will hope even more that the big son of Curlin will redeem himself with a top performance.
The G1 Cotillion Stakes features one of the true stars of the sport, the unbeaten filly, Songbird. Named champion two year-old filly of 2015 after a campaign that saw her win all four starts by a combined 22 lengths, three Grade 1 wins (DelMar Debutante, Chandelier, and Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies), the Medaglia D’Oro filly has done nothing but completely dominate her division again this year. Among her six wins this year are three more Grade 1 victories (Santa Anita Oaks, Coaching Club American Oaks and Alabama), each one another tour de force, leaving her foes far behind in the wake of her brilliant class and speed. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer can be nothing but supremely confident once again as his filly seeks her eleventh consecutive win.
While Songbird will be a heavy favorite to win again, the Cotillion field features two other outstanding Grade 1 winners. Kentucky Oaks winner and local star, Cathryn Sophia breaks from post two for trainer John Servis. Racing for Cash is King of Afleet Alex fame, the Street Boss filly burst onto the scene this winter in Florida, winning the G2 Forward Gal by five and a half lengths and the G2 Davona Dale by seven. After losing at 1-2 in the G1 Ashland, she was mildly overlooked in Kentucky, but responded with a sensational performance, winning the G1 Kentucky Oaks by nearly three lengths. She’s had an opportunity to prep locally, cruising to an easy victory in the $ 150,000 Princess of Sylmar Stakes here at Parx on September 3rd and should now be ready for a top performance in hopes of handing Songbird the first defeat of her career. Hall of Famer Bill Mott will send out Carina Mia. The Malibu Moon filly has already bested Cathryn Sophia this year, beating her in the G1 Acorn June 11th at Belmont Park.
A terrific undercard is topped by the $ 300,000 G3 Gallant Bob Stakes, a six furlong sprint that has drawn a field of twelve speedy three year-olds. The 5-2 morning line favorite is Bear Stables, Ltd.’s Noholdingback Bear. Trained by Michael De Paulo, the Put It Back colt is a multiple stakes winner looking for the first graded win of his career. He won consecutive stakes this spring on synthetics, the $ 125,000 Woodstock at Woodbine and the $ 100,000 Tom Ridge at Presque Isle, but has also shown excellent form on conventional dirt. He was second this January at Gulfstream in the G3 Hutcheson and is coming off a terrific third in the G1 King’s Bishop at Saratoga last time out August 27th. Eurico De Silva will once again be in the saddle.
Two other stakes will be contested on the giant Saturday program. State-breds square off in the $ 100,000 Alphabet Soup on the turf at one mile and one-sixteenth while a field of seven will enter the gate for $ 150,000 Frosted Stakes, a stake named for the 2015 PA Derby winner.
From 4:30 to 6:00PM, the three big races will all be televised on ComcastSportNet. Laffit Pincay III and Dick Jerardi will anchor the coverage while Caton Bredar and Maggie Wolfendale will provide updates and interviews with the participants. Sharla McBride will handle additional coverage from around the race track.
The card on Saturday will have 12 races with a post time of 12:25PM. Gates will open to the public at 10AM. Cotillion post time is scheduled for 4:55PM. PA Derby post time is set for 5:45PM.
Here’s the complete field for the $ 1.25 million G2 Pennsylvania Derby:
1 – Awesome Slew Ed Plesa, Jr. Paco Lopez 10-1
2 – Exaggerator Keith Desormeaux Kent Desormeaux 9-2
3 – Summer Revolution Rudy Rodriguez Mike Smith 8-1
4 – Connect Chad Brown Javier Castellano 12-1
5 – Cupid Bob Baffert Rafael Bejarano 5-1
6 – Wild About Deb Ramon Preciado Tiago Pereira 20-1
7 – Gun Runner Steve Asmussen Florent Geroux 6-1
8 – My Man Sam Chad Brown Julien Leparoux 20-1
9 – Nyquist Doug O’Neill Mario Gutierrez 5-2
10- Sunny Ridge Jason Servis Joe Bravo 12-1
11 – Discreet Lover Uriah St. Lewis Jose Flores 30-1
12 – Hit It Once More Gary Sciacca Kendrick Carmouche 20-1
Here’s the complete field for the $ 1 million G1 Cotillion Stakes:
1 – Carina Mia Bill Mott Julien Leparoux 5-1
2 – Cathryn Sophia John Servis Javier Castellano 5-2
3 – Disco Rose Robert Reid, Jr. Edwin Rivera 20-1
4 – Land Over Sea Doug O’Neill Mario Gutierrez 10-1
5 – Songbird Jerry Hollendorfer Mike Smith 1-2
6 – Queena Esther Juan Vazquez Carol Cedeno 30-1
Here’s the complete field for the G3 Gallant Bob Stakes (post position order):
2 – Mind Your Biscuits Robert Falcone, Jr No Rider 9-2
3 – Threefiveindia Chad Brown Javier Castellano 7-2
4 – Navy Hymn Richard Baltas Rafael Bejarano 5-1
5 – Noholdingback Bear Michael De Paulo Eurico De Silva 5-2
6 – Counterforce Steve Asmussen Florent Geroux 8-1
1 – Full Salute Ed Plesa, Jr. Frankie Pennington 15-1
7 – Awesome Speed Alan Goldberg Paco Lopez 12-1
8 – Cocked and Loaded Michael Pino Ruben Silvera 20-1
1A – Yellow Chips Ed Plesa, Jr. Joe Bravo 15-1
9 – Cardio Cowboy Ed Coletti, Jr. Kendrick Carmouche 20-1
10 – Klingon Warrior Kathleen DeMasi Charles Lopez 20-1
11 – Who’s Out Jerry Hollendorfer Mike Smith 12-1
1 Full Salute & 1A Yellow Chips are coupled in the wagering
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