From a Parx Racing release

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  1. California Chrome (1-1)
  2. Candy Boy (12-1)
  3. Protonico (6-1)
  4. Bayern (7-2)
  5. Noble Moon (15-1)
  6. Classic Giacnroll (15-1)
  7. Tapiture (5-1)
  8. C J’s Awesome (12-1)

Looking to make amends for his defeat in the Belmont Stakes, reestablish himself as the nation’s best three year-old and get himself ready for the Breeders Cup Classic, California Chrome will make his return to racing Saturday afternoon at Parx Racing in the $1 million G2 Pennsylvania Derby.  He will take on seven rivals in the nine furlong test scheduled for 5:40PM local time.  And if his appearance on the card isn’t enough to make for a huge day for local racing fans, the $1 million G1 Cotillion Stakes has attracted the top three year-old filly in the land, Kentucky Oaks winner, Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Untapable.

The appearance of California Chrome in the Pennsylvania Derby marks the first time in the history of the race that the reigning Kentucky Derby winner will be in the starting gate.  He returns to the races after taking more than three months off following a sensational spring that culminated in a bid for the Triple Crown.  Owned by Steve Coburn & Perry Martin, the strapping chestnut son of Lucky Pulpit made an immediate impact on the 3YO division in his seasonal debut, winning the Cal Cup Derby at Santa Anita by better than five lengths.  He backed up that victory by winning the G2 San Felipe by seven and a half and then romping home by better than five in the G1 Santa Anita Derby.  He broke from the gate as the 5-2 favorite in the Kentucky Derby and put on another dominating show winning for the fifth consecutive time.  Another brilliant performance and a win in the Preakness put him in line to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978.  As the racing world well knows, it was not to be as California Chrome could do no better than fourth in the Belmont Stakes.  He’s drawn the inside post and will open as the even money favorite.  Victor Espinoza will once again be on board for trainer Art Sherman.

Bob Baffert won the 2011 Cotillion with Plum Pretty and he’ll attempt to become just the fifth trainer in history to win the two biggest races here when he sends out the speedy Bayern.  Bayern did not race as a two year-old, won his debut on January 4th at Santa Anita and then won his first allowance test by 15 lengths.  After a third in the G1 Arkansas Derby, he was disqualified from a win in the G3 Derby Trial.  Early trouble seriously compromised his chances in the Preakness where he ran ninth but three weeks later he’d run the race of his life.  Dismissed a bit by the public at 9-1, the Offlee Wild colt set a track record at Belmont Park for seven furlongs, finishing out in 1:20.75, devastating the field in the G2 Woody Stephens, winning by 7 ½ lengths.  He came back east for his next start in the G1 Haskell and was brilliant again, taking charge immediately and romping home 7 ¼ lengths in front.  Last time out, a :47.31 half mile in the mile and a quarter G1 Travers may have been too fast and he faded to a disappointing tenth at Saratoga.  If he’s at the top of his game and manages a comfortable pace here Saturday, California Chrome will need his “A” game to win.  Martin Garcia comes in for the ride.

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  1. Cassatt (12-1)
  2. Sweet Reason (3-1)
  3. House Rules (20-1)
  4. Joint Return (10-1)
  5. Vero Amore (20-1)
  6. Little Alexis (20-1)
  7. Jo Jo Warrior (6-1)
  8. Untapable (7-5)
  9. Stopchargingmaria (9-2)

The legacy of the G1 Cotillion Stakes has been prominent for years, but a look at a list of the most recent winners shows evidence of just how strong this race has become.  Havre de Grace, Plum Pretty, My Miss Aurelia and Close Hatches have stood in the Parx winner’s circle the last four years and this year the field is topped by the unquestioned leader in the 3YO filly division, Untapable.  The terrific Tapit filly has dominated her group all year, winning, in succession, the G3 Rachel Alexandra, the G2 Fair Grounds Oaks, the G1 Kentucky Oaks and the G1 Mother Goose by a combined 31 ¼ lengths.  Her “closest” finish came in the Kentucky Oaks which she won by four and a half.  After the Mother Goose win, she tried the boys in the G1 Haskell Invitational where a speed favoring track and a less-than-stellar trip resulted in a disappointing fifth place finish.  Back with fillies on Saturday, she’ll look to continue her dominance as she preps for a start in the Ladies Classic.  Trainer Steve Asmussen will again use Rosie Napravnik to ride.

Opening as the second choice in the Cotillion is Treadway Racing Stable’s Sweet Reason.  Racing for Leah Gyarmati, the Street Sense filly was a Grade 1 winner in just the second start of her career, winning the Spinaway at Saratoga last September.  She finished her two year-old season as the favorite in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies, but fell too far off the early pace and had to settle for a fourth place finish.  She’s come back to win three of her four starts this year, including back to back Grade 1 wins in her last two starts.  She won the G1 Acorn at one mile at Belmont Park on June 7th and then in her most recent start on August 2nd, she rallied to win the seven furlong G1 Test at Saratoga.  Irad Ortiz, Jr., on board for both of those Grade 1 wins, again gets the mount.

A terrific undercard is topped by the $300,000 G3 Gallant Bob Stakes, a six furlong sprint that has drawn a field of seven speedy three year-olds.  The 8-5 morning line favorite is Frank Calabrese’s Fast Anna.  Trained by Kathy Ritvo, the Medaglia D’Oro has raced just three times in his career but has already proven his mettle.  After the maiden breaker at Gulfstream in mid-April, he took almost three months off before returning to a resounding 13 length win in his first allowance race coming July 6th at Gulfstream.  He then went to Saratoga nearly won the G1 King’s Bishop, leading every step before getting caught late by The Big Beast, losing by only a neck.  Irad Ortiz, Jr. has been named to ride.

From 4:30 to 6:00PM, the Cotillion and PA Derby will be televised live by the Comcast Network with a tape delayed broadcast shown on ComcastSportsNet after the conclusion of the Phillies game.   Laffit Pincay III and Dick Jerardi will anchor the coverage while Joe Kristufek and Maggie Wolfendale will provide updates and interviews with the participants. NBC 10’s Sheena Parveen will be on hand as well with special features throughout the day.

The card on Saturday will have 13 races with a special early post time of 11:25AM.  Gates will open to the public at 10AM.  Cotillion post time is scheduled for 4:45PM.  PA Derby post time is set for 5:40PM.