June 18, 2024

Gunite among seven entered in Parx Dirt Mile

Gunite at Saratoga in the Forego (Photo by Adam Coglianese / Credit Joe Labozzetta)

One of the leading sprinters in the country will stretch out around two turns on Saturday when Gunite looms as a prohibitive favorite in the $300,000 Parx Dirt Mile, one of four open undercard stakes on a program headed by the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) and Cotillion (G1).

Given connections’ belief that Gunite is typically more effective with at least seven furlongs to work with, Gunite might use the Parx Dirt Mile as a stepping stone toward the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), rather than take on division champion Elite Power for a fourth time this season in the six-furlong Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1).

Fourth in last year’s Dirt Mile behind Cody’s Wish, Gunite later missed twice to Elite Power over six furlongs by narrow margins. However, Gunite proved superior in last month’s seven-furlong Forego (G1), leading throughout to win by 1 3/4 lengths.

Class perhaps may need to carry Gunite over this distance, over which he has been unplaced in two prior attempts. His main rival might be Whelen Springs, last seen taking the 1 1/16-mile Philip H. Iselin (G3) at Monmouth Park.

In contrast, the $400,000 Gallant Bob (G2), a six-furlong dash on the main track for three-year-olds, has no standout. Logical threats include graded stakes winners Damon’s Mound and Ryvit, while Nautical Star and Gordian Knot remain with upside.

The presence of the fillies Roses for Debra and All That Magic add intrigue to the $250,000 Turf Monster (G3), a five-furlong turf dash for older horses.

Both Roses for Debra and All That Magic enter undefeated from four grass sprints. Roses for Debra’s recent wins include the Caress (G3) and Smart N Fancy S. at Saratoga, while All That Magic was last seen taking the Incredible Revenge S. at Monmouth Park. Among their male challengers is recent Parx Dash scorer Nobody Listens.

Heading the field for the $200,000 Greenwood Cup (G3) for older horses over 1 1/2 miles is Next, a winner in four of his past five starts including the Brooklyn (G2), and the 2022 Greenwood Cup winner Ridin With Biden.