by John Scheinman, from a Penn National release

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$500,000 PENN MILE

May 31, 2014

Race 4 – Post time 7:31pm EST

3YO, 1 Mile (Turf)

PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer

  1. Global View, Gary L. Stevens, 122, Thomas F. Proctor
  2. Sing the Dream, William P. Otero, 116, Clovis Crane
  3. Laddie Boy, Chris Landeros, 116, Chuck Peery
  4. Bobby’s Kitten, Javier Castellano, 122, Chad C. Brown
  5. Storming Inti, Alan Garcia, 122, Chad C. Brown
  6. Mr Brioni, Kendrick Carmouche, 116, Randy Allen
  7. Coastline, Stewart Elliott, 116, Mark E. Casse
  8. Divine Oath, Christopher P. DeCarlo, 116, Todd A. Pletcher[/boxify]

The field assembled for the second running of the $500,000 Penn Mile on Saturday night clearly shows the race has needed little time to establish itself as one of the premier turf races for 3-year-olds in the country.  Three of Nick Hahn’s “Turf Ten” list of top turfing sophomore are among the eight runners.

Led by multiple graded stakes winner Global View — second, behind Gala Award, on the Turf Ten — who will be ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, the eight-horse field lined up at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course features five stakes winners who have won or placed in nine graded races.

The four races that kick off the spectacular card comprise an All-Stakes Pick 4 that climaxes with the Penn Mile, which has a scheduled post time of 7:31 p.m. EST.

The entries read like a “who’s who” of racing stars, with horses conditioned by Todd Pletcher, Chad Brown, Ken McPeek and Graham Motion, along with renowned jockeys Stevens, Javier Castellano, Alan Garcia and Robby Albarado scheduled to ride.

The Penn Mile features a rematch between Glen Hill Farm’s Global View and Santa Rosa Racing Stables’ Storming Inti (fifth on the Turf Ten), who put on a sensational show in their most recent start, the Grade 2 American Turf on May 3 at Churchill Downs.  Storming Inti, bred in Pennsylvania, was also rated the top Midlantic-bred three year-old in the latest Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred/The Racing Biz Top Midlantic-bred Poll.

In the American Turf, Storming Inti, trained by Brown, tracked the lead early before seizing command only to get run down late by Global View in a perfectly timed ride by Stevens. The win was the second graded stakes on the resume of Global View, a son of European champion Galileo, one of the world’s leading sires.

Off that 1 1/16-mile grass race, both runners now will cut back to a mile. Global View, the 5-2 second choice on the morning line for the Penn Mile, lost at the distance in his first start of the year at Tampa Bay Downs to the sensationally fast Bobby’s Kitten, the 8-5 morning-line favorite for Saturday’s race.

After their seasonal debuts, both Global View and Bobby’s Kitten tried graded stakes races on the Keeneland synthetic Polytrack surface this spring with subpar results. Global View finished seventh, beaten 18 ½ lengths in the Grade 3 Transylvania (a race originally scheduled for the grass), while Bobby’s Kitten finished 12th, beaten 25 ½ lengths, in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes.

Global View bounced back to win the prestigious American Turf. Now Bobby’s Kitten, winner of the Grade 3 Pilgrim last year and third in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, will have to rebound as well.

“There’s always a question after those debacles,” said Tom Proctor, trainer of Global View. “We’ve answered ours; maybe [Bobby’s Kitten] has to answer his.”

Bobby’s Kitten, owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey and also trained by Brown, will have the riding services of Castellano, the 2013 Eclipse Award winner for leading jockey in the country.

Bobby’s Kitten looked like a rising phenomenon speeding to victory last year in a maiden win at Saratoga and then taking the Pilgrim at Belmont Park, and Proctor fears him getting a lone lead in the Penn Mile.

“If he does, we’re going to be in trouble,” Proctor said. “He’ll definitely have the advantage.”

The steady Storming Inti, 3-1 on the morning line, has won two stakes races and placed in two graded outings. He joins Bobby’s Kitten in a tremendous 1-2 punch for Brown, who said he had little choice but to run them both in the Penn Mile.

“It’s not ideal with horses that have similar running styles, but when both horses seem like they fit the race well, and when they will be among the top three choices for a half-million dollars, how do I keep them out?” he said. “When I have more than one candidate for a race … it has to come down to the individual. Has the horse earned the right to be in this race? And is he capable of winning this big race? If the answer is ‘yes,’ they will get an opportunity to go, regardless of running style.”

The contention runs deeper in the race. Leading trainer Pletcher will race Divine Oath, a son of Broken Vow who is undefeated in two grass starts. In his most recent outing, the colt finished second after a slow start in the Grade 3 Lexington over the Keeneland Polytrack.

Divine Oath, 6-1 on the morning line, is a little behind the others in seasoning, with only three starts, but not for lack of trying to run by Pletcher.

“He’s a horse that’s run well in all his starts, and we entered him in the Blue Grass and did not make it into the field because of career earnings,” Pletcher said. “We actually entered in the Spiral [at Turfway Park] and didn’t make it in on career earnings there either, which is why he didn’t race for a while. We’ve been targeting this race since then [the Lexington, on April 19].”

The three other horses in the field, Coastline, Mr Brioni and Sing the Dream, all will be trying the turf for the first time.

The most experienced, by far, is Coastline, owned by John Oxley and trained by Mark Casse. The gray Speightstown colt, 10-1 on the morning line, has had a hot-and-cold career. He stamped himself as a quality 2-year-old last year with a three-length win in the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs and finished third in his stakes debut as a 3-year-old at Oaklawn Park. After being beaten badly in the Grade 3 Southwest, he rebounded to finish third, beaten just a head, in the Grade 3 Spiral. In his most recent start, he faded to 10th in the Blue Grass Stakes.

Mr Brioni (30-1), an allowance winner at Parx Racing, and Sing the Dream (50-1), winner of a sprint stakes for New York breds at Finger Lakes last year, complete the field.

The inaugural Penn Mile, won by Rydilluc, helped Penn National smash all wagering records in the track’s 40-year history. All-source handle for the race was $1,139,478, overwhelming the prior single-race high of $377,365. Total all-source handle for last year’s Penn Mile card reached $3,658,996.

The Penn Mile also is part of the Penn National Gaming Racing Challenge, which ties together more than 20 stakes worth more than $5.5 million at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, Sam Houston Race Park, and Zia Park.

Owners, trainers and jockeys compete in the series of unrestricted stakes races and the leaders in each category at the end of the contest receive a trip to the Penn National Gaming owned M Resort in Las Vegas.  The winning owner and trainer will also have all entry and starting fees covered for unrestricted stakes races at Charles Town, Sam Houston, and Zia Park for the following year.

(Featured image, of Rydilluc winning last year’s Penn Mile, by B & D Photography.)