Sep 012016

The State Penn Derby (Grade II)

3 Year Olds | Dirt | 9 Furlongs | $375,000

Breeder’s Bowl Classic hopefuls descend on the Parx Racetrack this Saturday for a 9 furlong battle on State Penn Derby Day. There are some absolute monsters-Derby contenders and late bloomers alike-who are vying for a shot at the Classic. There’s not a ton of speed in this race, but the pace setters in this race have the ability to run some feverish splits, which sets up for a couple of different scenarios on Saturday.


YELLOW FANGS (ELUSIVE QUALITY x A.P. INDY x KINGMAMBO) has experienced some setbacks in his last few trips out, most recently finishing 5th in $75,000 allowance and The Labatts Ontario Oaks (Grade I) with a combined 9.75 lengths behind the winners. However, this horse has a ton of potential, and his connections (pbcash) hope that a post-Labatts Ontario Oaks gelding will settle this horse into a more consistent runner, which handicappers look for. After that gelding, YELLOW FANGS dropped in distance to 8 furlongs where she put up a 100 speed figure, so it’s plausible this horse can pull it out at the wire, something this horse has already done against Grade I competition in the Florida Derby.


HYPER JOHN has made steady improvement this year, most recently with a second place finish in the Grade III Colorado Sophomore Classic where he came flying from almost 9 lengths back. After testing out some alternate routes, HYPER JOHN’s connections (attfield2013) have determined that 9 furlongs, which the State Penn provides, is the ideal distance for this sire by COLONEL JOHN. HYPER JOHN’s 2 year old career didn’t stand out, but don’t let that fool you, this horse’s current form is exceptional right now and it will put this colt in good position to win his first graded stakes.


Don’t let TIZ CHIEF’s 2nd place finish in the Eddie Haskell fool you; the Kentucky-bred colt was victim of a bad post position on the outside of a field similar to Saturday’s State Penn. TIZ CHIEF (INTO MISCHIEF x TIZNOW x MACHIAVELLIAN) draws an inside post this weekend and his trainer (jastables) is hoping the saved distance will allow him to nose out the competition this time.


In a star-studded field, LIGHTNING STRIKE’s pedigree and race history stand out, despite mixed results. The magpies01 trainee by AWESOME AGAIN out of a STORM CAT mare is one of three earners of at least $1,000,000 and Grade I winners, but this horse could easily earned hundreds of thousands more while winning more races if its connections chose less challenging races for their prized colt to run in. LIGHTNING STRIFE has not run in a class lower than a Grade I since March 2016, and has not run in less than a Grade III since June of last year. And while LIGHTNING STRIFE has only won one of his last six trips out, this horse has challenged some of the top 3 year old talent in the world, and that’s why the oddsmakers love this colt.


While TAPIT is still experiencing his finest sire year, he stands out as FLOW OF VALUE’s dam’s dam sire in an extremely young pedigree. Durkastan has been extremely patient with this colt, and it has paid off well as he’s really hit his stride recently in three of his last four races- all stakes. If you think this horse can continue to make significant gains at the 9 furlong distance on more than a months rest, then you should bet this horse heavily because he’s going to give you a really good price.


On May 5, 2016, GOLDIKILLER won The Grunt (Grade III) by a half length, his first stakes win in five tries. Waquoit99 subsequently entered GOLDIKILLER in the Grade II Princess Cup, which was a logical next step, but a stretch to 10 furlongs that his colt has shown to dislike. After a disappointing last place finish in Ontario, waquoit99 shipped his horse back to New York for the Eddie Haskell (Grade I), but this proved to be too much for the son of COURT VISION out of an INDIAN RIDGE mare. This horse doesn’t seem to like more than 9 furlongs, and has proven inconsistent even at the mile and an eighth that the State Penn offers. It’s a crap shoot at what GOLDIKILLER is going to show up this weekend at Parx, but if it’s the GOLDIKILLER that ran The Grunt, then we could see a long shot trot to the winner’s circle.


KLUJ NAPOCA (GALILEO x A.P. INDY x ALYDAR) is the highest earner with $2,262,860 won in 11 races including his most recent win, the Eddie Haskell Stakes (Grade I). That win follows a win in Iowa’s Flat Land Derby (Grade II), where KLUJ NAPOCA covered 4.5 furlongs down the stretch to run away with the race. There’s a very good chance a faster pace will be set, forcing this horse to cover more ground than he is used to, but if he gets the trip he wants then he’ll certainly make the most of it and add to his winnings.


Despite this horse’s odds and recent figures, I think there will be more value in other runners on Saturday. Form and confidence are huge factors in how a horse runs, and this horse has run some huge routes only to finish off the board. RAMBLIN WRECK is a great candidate for 7/1 odds, and there is no doubt this horse is going to run a strong route, but given his past performance and post position, this horse has little margin for error- he’s going to need the perfect pace and perfect route to break his current losing streak.


BLUSHING NASHUA drops back down to 9 furlongs-a distance he likes-while stepping up in class with the State Penn. It’s unclear what prompted the sudden drop in performance in BLUSHING NASHUA’s trip out in the Clerk of Scales Stakes (Grade I), but this horse is going to need significant improvement to compete for an opportunity to run in the Breeder’s Bowl.


If you are simond2, you must look at PELOPPENISIA’s 8.5 furlong routes and see the horse and enough left in the tank. Despite never placing in a graded stakes, lesser-known PELPPENISIA looks to announce his arrival here at Parx on Saturday. If this horse can’t continue his upward trend in performance, it is safe to say that he is going to be a commanding four year old, which will be no surprise considering his dam had a similar trajectory. Don’t write this horse off.


MATHEMATICS has hit the board 80% out, but only one of those trips comes in graded stakes competition. His numbers are trending upwards with the exception of a Derby Prep in April, which could be attributed to a far outside post. Unfortunately, MATHEMATICS is getting another far outside post. Funnycide is hoping his work with the horse since that race has taught the colt how to navigate high traffic races.


There’s no lack of speed with this bluelights trained colt by SHANGHAI BOBBY. KING BOBBY’s weakness is running consistent routes, which many attribute to the heavy turf influence from the dam’s line. When you have a tale of two KING BOBBY’s it’s very hard to predict which one you are going to get, but this horse has done well with outside posts in large fields, so it may suit you to include him in your exotics.


DOWNRIGHT DEADLY could be downright deadly if this horse could put up consistent numbers. In fact, I’d go as far to say that this colt by MINESHAFT would be the morning line favorite if he had more consistency. This takeall3 trainee set up an incredibly fast pace, but did so from an inside post, so I’m not confident that he can replicate it from the far outside. This will leave the window open for the many stalkers and closers in this race.

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