Saudi Crown Wins Pennsylvania Derby – Saudi Crown held off Dreamlike by half a length to win the Pennsylvania Derby on Saturday at Parx Racing. The son of Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming led from the start and had enough speed and strength to breast the tape first at one minute and 50.62 seconds in the 1 1/8-mile race for three-year-olds. It was Saudi Crown’s third win in five starts as his owners earned a whopping US$546,000 for topping the race. The victory increased his career earnings to US$817,085 and put himself in the talk for a possible Breeders’ Cup Classic appearance. Saudi Crown’s victory in the Pennsylvania Derby boosted his stock in horse racing betting circles around the world.
Saudi Crown Wins Pennsylvania Derby: Setting the Pace
Under the tutelage of jockey Florent Geroux, Saudi Crown zoomed to an early lead and was able to hold early challenges from Scotland and West Coast Cowboy. In the middle of the race, the Brad Cox-trained horse handled second choice Reincarnate, who tried to overtake him in the nine-furlong mark. Saudi Crown then fended off the last-ditch rally of Dreamlike to top the contest. Il Miracolo finished third, six lengths off the pace. He edged Magic Tap by a neck.
The derby did not end without controversy as Magic Tap jockey Tyler Gaffalione protested an alleged interference by Il Miracolo rider Mychel Sanchez after the horses made contact. The stewards made an immediate inspection of the race and disproved the claim, keeping Il Miracolo at third ahead of Magic Tap. Crupi finished fifth while Reincarnate came in a dismal sixth. Gilmore, Daydreaming Boy, West Coast Cowboy, Scotland and Modern Era finished seventh, eighth, ninth, 10th and 11th, respectively.
Saudi Crown Wins Pennsylvania Derby, Positioning Himself as a Contender in the 3-Year-Old Division
It was the first stakes race victory for Saudi Crown in three tries as he bounced back from a loss to Forte in the Grade II Jim Dandy Stakes on July 29. Twenty-eight days earlier, Fort Bragg edged Saudi Crown by a nose at the Grade III Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park. The three-year-old’s handlers contemplated on racing him at the 1 1/4-mile Travers Stakes, another Grade I event that was scheduled on August 26.
However, Cox opted to race the horse at the Pennsylvania Derby, the easier of the two Grade 1 races at a shorter distance. Cox believes that Saudi Crown is one of the best horses in the division and his breakthrough performance in the Pennsylvania Derby was a proof to that belief. Although the derby is not part of Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In, it can help horses prepare for the prestigious race. Last year, Taiba emerged victorious in the Pennsylvania Derby and months later finished third at the US$6-million Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Longshot Lady Radler Rules Dogwood Stakes
Lady Radler, a 23-1 longshot, emerged victorious in the Grade 3 Dogwood Stakes in Churchill Downs on Saturday. The daughter of Kantharos out of Sally Bowles took the lead with 3/16 of a mile to the finish and went all the way with the stunning win. The Jesus Castañon-ridden Lady Radler ran away with a 2 3/4-length victory over Metaphysical in front of 12,744 fans at Churchill Downs. She covered seven furlongs at a time of one minute and 22.71 seconds. It was the fifth win for the Mellon Patch-owned horse and earned US$178,800 for first prize. It raised Lady Radler’s earnings to US$371,200 and improved to 5-2-1 (first-second-third) in 10 starts.
Lady Radler broke from post position No5 and was third off early leaders B G Warrior and Twice as Sweet. The fast pace rendered fractions of 22.26 seconds and 45.48 seconds for the first quarter- and half-mile. At the top of the stretch, Castañon guided Lady Radler to the outside of Twice as Sweet. She took the lead in the upper stretch and Metaphysical and Yesternight followed close behind.
She kept the lead to the finish and took her second stakes victory. Her first stakes victory was in May when she won the US$50,000 Goldfinch at Prairie Meadows. Second betting choice Metaphysical took the first runner-up honors while top bet Yesternight finished third. Twice as Sweet, Santa Fe Gold, Alexa Lou, B G Warrior, Norah G and Flamand completed the order of finish. Lady Radler’s victory at Dogwood surprised sports oddsmakers who were betting high on Yesternight and Metaphysical. This goes to show how horseracing is unpredictable and exciting at the same time. It could financially benefit those who bet on longshots as they can earn big money by picking the non-favorite to win the race.