This weekend is one of the last of the 3yo races for the year as the once leaders of the headlines in the spring head on to face the best older horses. Parx Racing host the Pennsylvania Derby and the Cotillion Stakes, where Derby winner California Chrome and Oaks winner Untapable will try to show that they are still as dominant as they were this spring. Both are coming off of bad performances in the spotlight, albeit more so for Untapable. But the past is history going into this weekend. Both off of a long layout, each has something to prove, and a tough field to prove it against.
The Pennsylvania Derby is basically a roundup of some of the best spring 3yos in the country and a few locals. California Chrome is the obvious horse to beat, but the long layoff could be his downfall. Candy Boy has come off two straight seconds, losing to Shared Belief in the Los Alamitos Derby and to Tapiture in the West Virginia Derby. Bayern may like the step down in distance, but Parx doesn’t play like Monmouth, where long races can feel like sprints. The allowance winner C J’s Awesome draws the outside and Jerome winner and runner up Noble Moon and Classic Giacnroll enter the race. Smarty Jones winner and 3rd place finisher to Travers winner V.E. Day in the Curlin, Protonico also enters this field. If California Chrome can find a path off of the rail, he should pass by the rest and capture the race. Tapiture is his biggest threat in this race and is my pick to win. Tapiture is coming off two straight wins, both close, but strong. His win in the West Virginia Derby really stands out to me. My longshot in this race is Protonico. He is coming out of live races, a Smarty Jones win over Classic Giacnroll and Albano, and a short loss to V.E. Day. Don’t doubt this horse, and could get both him and Tapiture at anywhere from 7-1 to 12-1 (and maybe even closer to 15-1 for Protonico).
As for the fillies, the Cotillion Stakes, Untapable is the horse to beat. Black-Eyed Susan, C.C. American Oaks, and Alabama winner Stopchargingmaria has been capturing filly race after filly race while Untapable has been out. Of course Monmouth Oaks winner Cassatt and Acorn and Test winner Sweet Reason also draw into the field. Jojo Warrior ships in from the West and 3 time starter Little Alexis enter in as well. While Untapable may be the best, her layoff will be what hurts her. My bet goes with Sweet Reason. Irad Ortiz stays on board and has been doing great with her. She will love the step back up in distance after competing at a mile and at 7 furlongs.
Good Luck to those betting and going to the races this weekend! Hopefully this helps you out!