75°F
weather icon Clear

Horses prep for Breeders’ Cup at Pennsylvania Derby, Cotillion

If timing is everything, then a tip of the hat to Parx Racing for its wise scheduling of the Pennsylvania Derby and Cotillion on Saturday.

Both stakes offer a $1 million purse. But they also offer 3-year-olds of both sexes a prep for the Breeders’ Cup, where they can stay within their age group and not face older horses.

It has attracted, without doubt, the two leaders of their division — the colt California Chrome and the filly Untapable — to Bensalem, Pa. But both are coming off last-out losses and a vacation that gives their opponents some sliver of hope.

California Chrome (1-1) failed to win the Triple Crown in losing the Belmont Stakes. His wins in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Santa Anita Derby have him atop the heap.

But his bad rail draw and shipping cross country are both negatives. Also, he hates dirt being kicked in his face, and clearly Bayern (7-2) will be in front of him. Tapiture (5-1) has looked sharp in winning the West Virginia Derby and Matt Winn. This race has been his main goal all summer, and I give him a puncher’s chance to upset.

The connections of Shared Belief will be watching this race intently from afar. They believe they can still win the Eclipse 3-year-old title, especially if California Chrome loses.

Untapable (7-5) figures to have an easier go. Her main foe, Stopchargingmaria (7-2), most likely will scratch and await the Beldame at Belmont Park on Sept. 27.

If that happens, the odds on Untapable will drop to at least 4-5.

Her one defeat this year was in the Haskell, where she lost facing males. She has been off for two months, but facing her own gender in the Cotillion is a big class drop.

Untapable’s back-speed figures from wins in the Mother Goose, Kentucky Oaks and Fair Grounds Oaks are all fast enough to crush this group, if repeated.

I don’t see her losing, at any price.

Parx has a dirt surface that, for some reason, shippers can have trouble handling. Joint Return (8-1) is a price horse who has trained well and raced well over Parx in the past. She has a late closing style in which she will pass many tired horses in the stretch.

■ SUFFOLK CLOSING — Suffolk Downs, located in a top 10 market of Boston, will race for the last time Sept. 29. It will stay open for simulcasting until the end of the year, then shut down for good.

The end for Suffolk came when it lost a bid for a Massachusetts casino license to Nevada-based Wynn Resorts.

Suffolk had done well in introducing untold numbers of college students to the sport. This was due in part to the density of colleges in the Boston area.

Bill Veeck, known mainly for his baseball prowess, ran Suffolk for three years starting in 1969. He wrote a book about it named “Thirty Tons a Day.” It’s still a fascinating read of an outsider’s view on horse racing.

■ WYNN DERBY FUTURE BOOK OPENS — The Wynn Las Vegas Kentucky Derby Future Book opened this week. John Avello, Wynn director of race and sports, has listed odds on more than 250 2-year-olds. Remember that the first ones in line usually get the better odds.

Richard Eng’s horse racing column is published Friday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He can be reached at rich_eng@hotmail.com. Follow him on Twitter: @richeng4propick.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Sports Betting Spotlight Videos
THE LATEST
Irish War Cry due for good race, pick to win Belmont

With Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming and Preakness champion Cloud Computing skipping the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, the Triple Crown races will produce three different winners for the second consecutive year.

This weekend is filled with festival-style horse racing

Today the trend is for racetracks to cluster their stakes in a festival-style program. Thus, the Met Mile will be among nine graded stakes on the Belmont Stakes card June 10.

Always Dreaming’s Preakness run proves ‘horses are human’

Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming by various accounts came bouncing out of Churchill Downs in good order. His Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher felt good about his preparation.

Kentucky Derby offers clues for Preakness winner

Always Dreaming is the horse the racing industry will be rooting for. A win in the Preakness sets up another Triple Crown chance in the Belmont Stakes on June 10.

Preakness questions immediately face Always Dreaming

After Always Dreaming crossed the finish line first in the Kentucky Derby, the first question was, “Is he good enough to win the Triple Crown.”

McCraken gets nod to win Kentucky Derby

Many experts are calling this the most wide-open Kentucky Derby in years. When I hear that, I get cynical. Wide open was in 2009 when Mine That Bird destroyed the field at 50-1 odds.

Kentucky Derby week means betting seminars in Las Vegas

The Kentucky Derby attracts the most novice and casual bettors of any race in our sport. With that in mind, there are all kinds of free Derby seminars next week.

Patience is necessary for future bets in horse racing

I love making future bets, not only in horse racing but also other sports. That’s because horseplayers learn a basic tenet early on. Our goal is to bet a little to win a lot.

‘Super Saturday’ should solidify Kentucky Derby field for many horses

When the folks at Churchill Downs dreamed up the Kentucky Derby points system, I was skeptical at first. Not anymore. It has worked by producing fields of in-form horses that, for the most part, are also bred to race two turns.