by John Scheinman, from a Penn National release

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May 31, 2014

Race 2 – Post time 6:33pm EST

3&up, 5 Furlongs (Turf)

PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer

  1. Stormy Rush, Gabriel Saez, 123, Lorne Richards
  2. Stormofthecentury, Stewart Elliott, 123, Louis V. Ruberto
  3. Marriedtothemusic, Cornelio Velasquez, 120, Linda Rice
  4. This Ain’t No Bull, Frankie Pennington, 123, Cynthia G. Reese
  5. Tightend Touchdown, Javier Castellano, 123, Jason Servis
  6. Tate’s Landing, Alex Cintron, 120, Mark Shuman
  7. Bold Thunder, Paco Lopez, 123, Patricia Farro
  8. Atlantic Seaboard, Jose Luis Flores, 120, Ramon Preciado
  9. Sensible Lady, Angel Serpa, 123, Alan E. Goldberg
  10. Kingsford Drive, Robby J. Albarado, 120, Bruce R. Brown
  11. Great Attack, Kendrick Carmouche, 123, Hugh I. McMahon
  12. Ol Army, Chris Landeros, 120, Chuck Peer[/boxify]

Twelve blazing turf sprinters, led by defending champion Tightend Touchdown, are set to line up Saturday night in the $150,000 Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course.

The five-furlong race for 3-year-olds and up is the second race on the stakes-laden Penn Mile card that begins at 6:00 p.m. EST. The Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup is also the second leg of an All Stakes Pick 4 that climaxes with the second running of the $500,000 Penn Mile, one of the premier turf races for 3-year-olds in the country.

Tightend Touchdown, trained at Belmont Park by Jason Servis, uncorked the best race of his life last year in the Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup. The 5-year-old gelding rocketed to the lead under Eclipse Award-winning rider Javier Castellano, sped a half-mile in 43 seconds, and cruised home in 54 3/5 seconds to win by 5 ½ lengths. He earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 107 for the race.

Tightend Touchdown, the lukewarm 7-2 morning-line favorite to retain his title, put an exclamation mark on his 2013 season by running in a dead-heat tie for second in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita. He was beaten just a half-length by the great sprinting mare Mizdirection.

This year, he has run just one time, finishing a close-up eighth after a bumpy start in a February 1 turf sprint at Gulfstream Park. Now he is looking to get back into top form.

“We were going to Dubai [with him for the World Cup card], and were all set to go, and three day before we go he came up with a high temperature – 105 – and got a virus,” Servis said. “He got knocked for a loop.

“He’s much better now. Last year, he was just lights out. I thought this would be a good starting point.”

Tightend Touchdown, who will have Castellano back aboard, raced at six different tracks and finished in the top three of all nine of his starts last year, earning $427,000 in the process. He likes the lead but could have plenty company Saturday.

Bold Thunder, trained by Patricia Farro, ships in from Monmouth Park and has been on the lead after a half-mile in his past seven starts.

The 4-year-old son of Bold n’ Flashy, 9-2 on the line, has won four of eight outings at the distance. He has never lost over turf listed as “firm.”

“As long as the track is not slick, the horse is good,” said Mike Farro, Patty Farro’s husband and assistant. “We ran him on the soft turf last time [at Gulfstream Park], and he ran second, but he never really got into it.

“He’s very fast, and if the track is fast, he runs a big race. He worked good [four furlongs in 49.20 on May 25] at Monmouth. When we watched that race last time when he was second, there were like six horses in there that had never been behind anyone for a half-mile, and he got in front pretty easily.”

The horse that defeated Bold Thunder last time out, Stormy Rush, ships in from Woodbine for the race.

Trained by Lorne Richards, the 6-year-old gelding won two straight five-furlong turf sprints at Gulfstream Park and appears to be in career best form. He is 5-1 on the morning line and will break from the rail under Gabriel Saez.

Trainer Linda Rice will run 4-year-old Marriedtothemusic, 6-1 on the line, for the first time on grass in the Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup.

The Disco Rico colt is 2-for-2 for Rice since she took over his training after the death of Rice’s close friend, trainer Dominic Galluscio. Like his winning dam, Significant Other, Marriedtothemusic has proven extremely fast, twice finishing second in stakes races for New York breds.

Stormofthecentury, winner last September of the Grade 3 Turf Monster Handicap at Parx Racing on yielding ground, enters at 10-1 for trainer Louis Ruberto. In his first start of the year, the 6-year-old gelding finished seventh after being bumped at the start, in the Grade 3 Turf Sprint on May 2 at Churchill Downs.

An intriguing wildcard in the race might be Tate’s Landing, a 20-1 shot on the morning line, trained in Maryland by Mark Shuman.

The 4-year-old Orientate colt won the Laurel Futurity by 3 ¼ lengths in 2012 and then never won again until his most recent start – his first under Shuman – a five-furlong turf sprint April 13 at Pimlico.

Shuman said the horse never got an opportunity to sprint on grass in five subsequent starts after the Laurel Futurity, and discounted the six-furlong run over the rugged terrain in September last year at Kentucky Downs.

“I got him about a week after his last race [a seventh-place finish in a dirt sprint at Laurel in February],” Shuman said. “[Trainer Graham Motion] was about as nice as he could be and told me everything there was to know about him. We [gelded] him maybe two weeks after we got him. He hadn’t sprinted since the Laurel Futurity. I don’t consider six furlongs at Kentucky Downs a sprint; it’s more like a mile. I think he’s telling us what he wants to do.”

Atlantic Seaboard, 20-1, is another horse shortening up for the race. Trained at Parx Racing by Ramon Preciado, the 4-year-old Stormy Atlantic gelding has been running at distances of 7 ½ furlongs to 1 1/8 miles on the grass. He started his career as a dirt sprinter and with the horse’s natural speed, Preciado believes turf sprints are going to serve him well.

“The horse wants to go short,” Preciado said. “I’m going to try to be very close to the lead. It’s not like you have to ask for anything. We wanted the whole winter to do this. That’s why we laid him off.”

Atlantic Seaboard has raced only once in 2014, a sixth-place finish as the beaten favorite at a mile April 12 at Pimlico.

Stakes winners This Ain’t No Bull, Sensible Lady and Great Attack, along with Kingsford Drive and Ol Army, complete the field.

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