November 30, 2023

Competitive preps for Penn Derby, Cotillion featured at Parx

An erratic Salute the Stars straightened up and upset Kingsbarns in the Pegasus at Monmouth (Cropped from photo by Joe Labozzetta/Equi-Photo)

Parx resumes racing this coming week after its traditional summer break, and on Tuesday will host preps for next month’s Pennsylvania Derby (G1) and Cotillion (G1).

Nine three-year-olds passed the entry box for the $300,000 Smarty Jones (G3) over 1 1/16 miles. The lukewarm morning line favorite at 3-1 is Salute the Stars, who nailed Louisiana Derby (G2) winner Kingsbarns at the wire in winning the Pegasus S. at Monmouth Park in mid-June. However, the Brad Cox-trained son of Candy Ride took a step back next out when finishing a well-beaten seventh of eight in the Haskell (G1).

Cagliostro finished third last out in the Indiana Derby (G3), one race after losing a Churchill Downs allowance to Scotland by a head. Scotland when on take to the restricted Curlin S. at Saratoga by more than three lengths over Il Miracolo.

Several horses with limited-to-no stakes experience figure prominently in the Smarty Jones. Army Times impressively captured his first allowance condition at Monmouth for Chad Brown in late July, while Victory Way did the same at Belmont earlier that month for Bill Mott. Adero and Daydreaming Boy both enter off consecutive allowance score and have a collective 6-for-11 record over the Parx main track.

A slightly more accomplished group of three-year-old fillies will contest the $200,000 Cathryn Sophia S. over one mile and 70 yards. The field includes Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) heroine Southlawn, Delaware Oaks (G3) winner Foggy Night, and Gazelle (G3) vixen Promiseher America. The latter two finished second and fifth, respectively, in the Monmouth Oaks (G3) last month, while Southlawn takes a more meaningful drop in class after trailing in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) following a poor start.

Stepping up in class and distance is Yesternight, who has won two of three starts, both over six furlongs.