Pennsylvania Derby

Hot Rod Charlie Outbattles Midnight Bourbon in PA Derby

Hot Rod Charlie (Oxbow), among the most talented horses in training yet to have officially reached the highest level, got his Grade I in Saturday's Pennsylvania Derby--but not without some more drama. He had last been seen getting DQ'd from first to seventh in the GI Haskell Invitational S. at Monmouth July 17 when he crossed over on and clipped heels with Midnight Bourbon (Tiznow), causing that runner to drop Paco Lopez. And it was Midnight Bourbon who again was involved in a controversial stretch drive with Hot Rod Charlie....

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Keepmeinmind Scratched from PA Derby

Keepmeinmind (Laoban) has been scratched from Saturday's $1-million GI Pennsylvania Derby after an abscess was discovered in his left front foot. "It's just bad timing," trainer Robertino Diorodo said. "He trained like a monster [Thursday] and we needed the pony to get him off the track, he was feeling so good. This is definitely disappointing, but the main thing is the horse is going to be ok. Terrible timing." GSW Keepmeinmind was last seen finishing fourth in the Aug. 28 GI Runhappy Travers S.

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'Spirit'-less PA Derby Weekend's Main Event

The decision to withdraw GI Kentucky Derby first-past-the-post Medina Spirit (Protonico) from Saturday's $1-million GI Pennsylvania Derby is certainly a disappointing development, but eight of the nine remaining entrants already have at least one stakes win to their credit, six of those at the graded-stakes level, with a couple of new shooters that have earned their chance to contest a race of this magnitude. Hot Rod Charlie (Oxbow) is a deserving favorite based on his body of work, one that could look dramatically more sparkling with a few different bounces...

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Bret Calhoun Joins Writers' Room

On the heels of a breakout performance from his juvenile filly Hidden Connection (Connect) in Saturday's GIII Pocahontas S. at Churchill, trainer Bret Calhoun joined the TDN Writers' Room presented by Keeneland Wednesday morning to talk about his new barn star, upcoming career milestones, the closure of his old home track Arlington Park this weekend and more. Calling in via Zoom as the Green Group Guest of the Week, Calhoun was asked about how Hidden Connection's 9 1/4-length tour de force beneath the Twin Spires compared to his expectations for...

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Medina Spirit to Scratch from PA Derby

Medina Spirit (Protonico), the 2-1 morning-line favorite for Saturday's GI Pennsylvania Derby, will not be making the trip to Parx this weekend. Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said Tuesday that the GI Kentucky Derby winner will remain in California and instead run in the GI Awesome Again S. against older horses at Santa Anita Oct. 2. "I want to do what is best for the horse," Baffert said. "I don't like the way he drew." Medina Spirit was assigned post position nine in the Pennsylvania Derby. Medina Spirit, third...

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Hot Rod Charlie, Medina Spirit Among Early PA Derby Noms

GSW Hot Rod Charlie (Oxbow) heads the early nominations for the Sept 25 GI Pennsylvania Derby. The nine-furlong marquee race for 3-year-olds highlights a stacked card which features eight stakes races, including five at the graded level. The Pennsylvania Derby was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic. "We're still a few works away, but we're real optimistic about Charlie's next stop, the Pennsylvania Derby," said trainer Doug O'Neill. "The race looks to be coming up tough, which one would expect with a million dollars on the line." Winner...

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Medina Spirit Supplemented to Shared Belief

Medina Spirit (Protonico) was supplemented, at a cost of $1,000, to Sunday's Shared Belief S., a one-mile event for 3-year-olds on the Del Mar main track. The $100,000 contest will be the first start for the colt since finishing third--beaten five lengths--by Rombauer in the GI Preakness S. at Pimlico May 15.  His victory in the May 1 GI Kentucky Derby victory remains in limbo pending a Kentucky Horse Racing Commission ruling. "I've entered him, he's running," Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said. "I figure I'll use this as...

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Medina Spirit Possible for Pennsylvania Derby

Medina Spirit (Protonico), unraced since a third-place finish behind Rombauer (Twirling Candy) in the GI Preakness S. at Pimlico May 15, was not among the nominees to the Aug. 29 Shared Belief S., but may be ready for the GI Pennsylvania Derby Sept. 25, trainer Bob Baffert said Saturday. "There have been rumors about that horse since May 1," Baffert said with a laugh. "There has been a lot of talk about that horse. He's going to breeze this week and I'll know more after that. I go work-by-work with...

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First Captain to Skip Travers

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY--Four-time GI Runhappy Travers S.-winning trainer Shug McGaughey said Thursday that First Captain (Curlin) will not run in Saratoga's signature race Aug. 28. Godoplphin's Essential Quality (Tapit), the winner of seven of eight career starts, including the GI Belmont S., is the headliner for the 152nd running of the $1.25 million Travers. Though the chestnut colt is fine following his third-place finish in the Curlin S. July 30, McGaughey decided to pass on the Travers and point to the GI Pennsylvania Derby Sept. 25. "I just don't think...

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Pacific Classic, Haskell Among Options for Hot Rod Charlie

Hot Rod Charlie (Oxbow), runner-up to favored Essential Quality (Tapit) in last Saturday's GI Belmont S., returned to the track at his Santa Anita base Friday. The colt arrived from the East Coast Wednesday night. "He jogged a mile and a half and looked fantastic," trainer Doug O'Neill said. "He was happy and full of energy." Regarding the GII Louisiana Derby winner's next possible engagement, O'Neill said, "The [GI] Pacific Classic at Del Mar is a possibility [Aug. 21], the [GI] Haskell at Monmouth is possible [July 17] as is...

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Pennsylvania Derby, Cotillion Will Not Be Held in 2020

Due to circumstances that arose with the coronavirus pandemic, Parx Racing has canceled all of its open stakes for the remainder of the year, including the GI Pennsylvania Derby and the GI Cotillion S. The two $1-million events were part of a program that had been scheduled for Sept. 26 and also included the Turf Amazon S., the Parx Dirt Mile and the GII Gallant Bob S. "We will not be running any open stakes races this year," racing secretary David Osojnak said. "We will be going on hiatus. The...

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Maximum Security Stretches Legs at MTH, Next Start Up in Air

Gary and Mary West's Maximum Security (New Year's Day), last-out winner of the Haskell Invitational S. at Monmouth Park July 20, breezed a leisurely half-mile in :54 flat Wednesday morning as he works toward a yet-to-be determined next start which could come in either the GI Runhappy Travers S. at Saratoga Aug. 24 or in the GI Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Sept. 21. "I just want to make sure he is 100%," trainer Jason Servis told the Monmouth press office. "He's still not there yet." Servis said a decision...

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