The name may be different but the race remains the same—Parx Racing at Philadelphia Park will present the $1 million Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby on Saturday. A contentious field of seven will line up for the nine-furlong dirt test, led by First Dude, who has been seen in many of the major spring and summer graded stakes, yet not in the winner's circle. Also entered is G2 Jim Dandy winner A Little Warm, the improving Morning Line, and Exhi, a Todd Pletcher trainee with four straight wins on synthetic surfaces, including the G2 Lexington, before his runner-up finish in the G2 West Virginia Derby on August 2.
The Thoroughbred Legends Racing Stable hopes to have a successful day on Saturday; not only do they own Morning Line in the Pennsylvania Derby, they also own Rapport, the 3-1 second choice in the G2 Gallant Bloom at Belmont. The probable favorite in the 6 ½-furlong event will be Godolphin's Sara Louise, making her 4-year-old debut in a race that she narrowly lost last year to Indian Blessing. Coincidentally, Bob Baffert trains Rapport, while last year, Indian Blessing was in his hands. Rapport most recently captured the Aug. 28 Victory Ride in impressive fashion.
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Louisiana Downs will present the 1 1/8-mile Super Derby (G2) Saturday with California invader Hurricane Ike positioned to be the betting favorite. The John Sadler trainee won the G3 Derby Trial over dirt and is only contestant in the six-horse field with graded stakes experience. Also shipping in from Southern California is Distorted Economy for trainer Neil Drysdale. A close third when making his stakes debut in the El Cajon at Del Mar, the son of Distorted Humor will have the services of Pat Valenzuela, not a stranger to this oval. An interesting prospect is Golden Moka, unbeaten in four starts, three in Panama, and, most recently, at Fort Erie. The Al Stall-trained Apart, has a win over the track, and has a good chance of being the upsetter here.
Also on Saturday, Delaware Park will run the G3 Kent, a nine furlong turf contest for 3-year-olds. The Kent has attracted a field of nine, including the winner and runner-up of Saratoga's G2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame S., Interactif, and Grand Rapport. Interactif was a multiple Grade 3 winner as a 2-year-old, and has been raced mostly on dirt this year in the effort to make an impact in the 3-year-old division in the dirt races, but clearly prefers turf; he is the likely favorite here. Also expected to start in the Kent is G2 American Derby winner Workin For Hops, who exits a third-place finish behind Paddy O' Prado in the G1 Secretariat, and Lentenor, who makes his second attempt in graded stakes company.
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