In recent times, the Pennsylvania Derby has morphed into one of those races that is circled on the calendar as a spot for big-time three-year old colts. The timing between this race and the Breeders’ Cup is one reason. The fact these horses get to compete against only other three year olds is another. And the $1 million purse and grade one status doesn’t hurt anything either.
The 2021 renewal could be as competitive as any of the recent runnings. A super solid field of nine will line up for what promises to be a rambunctious run over the PARX dirt on September 25. Let’s take a look at the entrants and get a thought on each as we look forward to another magnificent mile and an eighth.
- Fulsome (10-1)- Trained by Brad Cox, this son of Into Mischief has five wins in seven stars this year. His latest victory came over this very dirt. Never discount the Brad Cox barn…consider him a factor.
- Keepmeinmind (5-1)- Coming into the year this son of Laoban was considered one of the top colts in the division. Still winless at three, recent efforts have been solid and wonder jock Joel Rosario is in the irons, but not likely to be in our mind as the victor.
- Speaker’s Corner (8-1)- First try in stakes company for this son of Street Sense and only his second start this year. Trainer Bill Mott has a big hill to climb in this one but does have the services of rider Jose Ortiz. Not on our ticket here.
- Weyburn (10-1)- Won the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct in his first start of the year back in March but has not gotten back in next three starts. A hard-knocking son of Pioneerof the Nile, this Jimmy Jerkens trainee will likely be near the lead early and could help prompt a strong early pace. Likely to fade as the wire gets closer.
- I Am Redeemed (20-1)- A Pennsylvania-bred grandson of Smarty Jones will be flying the local flag as all four career starts have been this year at this track with three wins and a second. Not likely to win, but if you believe in the home team and include him in exotics, you too may be redeemed at the window.
- Bourbonic (10-1)- This late-running Todd Pletcher trainee fell out of the clouds and won the Wood Memorial at odds of 72-1. A hot early pace could set up another late run by this son of Bernardini, but the front end is likely to be a bit too talented.
- Hot Rod Charlie (8-5)- A likely post-time favorite, this courageous son of Oxbow showed a stalking dimension while crossing the finish line first in the Haskell which could help here. Jockey Flavien Prat is one of the best in the game and likes how this Doug O’Neill trained Hot Rod runs. Our pick in this one.
- Midnight Bourbon (3-1)- Another super competitive runner that always seems to be there at the end. Has two wins in eleven lifetime starts but nine finishes in the top three. A Steve Asmussen trained son of Tiznow, this Bourbon likes to be out front and will be a factor in the outcome. Needs to be in all your exotic wagers.
- Americanrevolution (15-1)- Three for three this year, can this Todd Pletcher trained son of Constitution go to war in graded stakes company for the first time and win? Jockey Luis Saez is a plus, but this water is pretty deep. Might be worth a play in your superfecta.