We are focusing on Parx this weekend as it has put on a high quality card worth well in excess of $2.5m. The premier races are the Gallant Bob, the Cotillion and the Pennsylvania Derby and, without further ado, we will kick off with the Gallant Bob.
This 6 furlong grade 3 contest has drawn a strong and geographically diverse field of 12. Morning Line favouritism has been allocated to Noholdingback Bear at 5/2 on the back of his solid third in the Grade 1, 7 furlong King’s Bishop. This drop in class and trip will no doubt suit and the horse is very consistent with Beyers of 97 and above for his last three races.
Threefiveindia won just an optional claimer last time out but recorded some extremely good fractions in the process, recording a Beyer of 98, one more than Noholdingback Bear’s King’s Bishop third.
Talking of Beyers of 98, California based Navy Hymn earned his with a win in an optional claimer at Del Mar. He may well be the dark horse in a very complex race.
On to grade 1 action and six runners face the starter for the Cotillion, a race for three year old fillies over a mile and a sixteenth, worth a tasty $1m. It is a small field but the quality is there with the mighty Songbird, Kentucky Oaks winner Cathryn Sophia and Carina Mia.
Songbird has been devastating all summer despite having to miss the Kentucky Oaks with a niggling injury. She is very speedy and anything that has taken her on has paid the penalty. Cathryn Sophia will be a formidable opponent, probably the strongest Songbird has met to date. She won her last race by an easy 6 ½ lengths. However, it is difficult to see her defeat the 1/2 favorite.
Finally, we review the feature race and what an exciting race this looks to be with a high quality field of 12 vying for this grade 2 race worth an exceptional $1.25m.
Firstly, we have another round in the Nyquist v Exaggerator head to head. Nyquist took the Kentucky Derby while Exaggerator responded by taking the Preakness.
In the Preakness, Nyquist compromised his chances by going off too fast and getting caught up in a speed duel. This could happen again as there is plenty of speed in the race but connections are determined that he will be held off the pace this time round. This change of tactic should not be a problem for Nyquist as he won the Breeders’ Cup juvenile having been held up.
Exaggerator seems to show his best when finishing off a fast pace on a wet track. He will very likely get the fast pace but not his favoured track conditions. He also has to come back from a very ordinary run in the Travers.
Gun Runner is an interesting contender. On the face of it, he was a well-beaten third in the Travers but the majesty of the winner’s performance meant that Gun Runner still earned a Beyer of 102, despite being beaten over 13 lengths.