Javerre. Photo by Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club.

Nutshell: Today’s featured eighth race at Parx Racing has attracted a Grade 3 winner, a Breeders’ Cup participant, and a Group 1 (Mex.)  winner.

This afternoon’s featured allowance tilt at Parx Racing — assuming, of course, that racing actually occurs there — has attracted a Grade 3 winner, a Breeders’ Cup participant, and a Mexican Group 1 winner.  The 6 1/2 furlong tilt for horses that have never won three-other-than (or claiming $40,000) is scheduled to be race eight with a 3:34 post time.

Bakken gets the nod as the 5-2 favorite, and why not?  He was second, beaten a half-length by the very good Palace in the G2 True North last June.  Later in the year, he gave a credible accounting of himself in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, a race in which, though he finished eighth, he was beaten less than four lengths after a troubled trip.  And he comes from the barn of trainer Chad Brown, who has won 20 of his last 33 starts in Bensalem.

The bad news?  He followed that Breeders’ Cup effort with two disappointing tries, most recently a sixth-place finish in the Fire Plug at Laurel at 1-2 odds.  And he’s been away since, now a gap of more than 60 days.

If you’re inclined to look elsewhere, there are options.

[boxify cols_use =”3″ cols =”6″ position =”right” box_spacing =”5″ padding =”3″ background_color =”gray” background_opacity =”10″ border_width =”1″ border_color =”blue” border_style =”solid” height =”220″ ]MIDLANTIC-BREDS IN THE RACE

  • #2 Javerre (NJ) — 5-1
  • #3 Johnny Jump Up (PA) — 10-1
  • #4 El Capitan (PA) — 8-1
  • #7 Rustler Hustler (PA) — 12-1
  • #8 Perilous Indian (MD) — 10-1[/boxify]

Second choice Schivarelli (4-1) made a blink-and-you-miss-it foray onto last year’s Triple Crown trail, running fourth in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial.  He’s won three of seven career starts, but he’s lost his last three.  The Eddie Kenneally-trained son of Montbrook most recently ran fifth in the Jazil Stakes at Aqueduct, which may be better than it sounds; fourth-place finisher Misconnect returned to win the Grade 3 General George last month at Laurel Park.

Javerre (5-1) hasn’t quite turned out to be the horse he appeared likely to become when winning the ’13 General George, but he’s still a useful runner.  He was third, beaten a half-length, in the Valley Forge in December and most recently was seventh by four in the General George after a stumbling start.  Trained locally by Cal Lynch, the New Jersey-bred fits with this group and gets the services of rider J.D. Acosta.

Mexican Group 1 winner El Capitan (8-1) hasn’t won in eight U.S. starts, but he does seem to be moving in the right direction, having finished in the triple in three straight with improving figs.  He was third against similar last time  in his first off a $16,000 claim by Marcos Zulueta and sure could use a lively pace in front of him.

One other runner worthy of a glance is longshot Cu Chulainn (15-1).  His last was a mess — a last-place finish in the Valley Forge — but you can make a case for drawing a line through that one.  Prior, he’d won three of five with a second-place finish; and in his immediately prior start, against allowance foes, he won in dominant fashion while earning a 102 BRIS speed figure.  He hasn’t raced yet in ’15, and trainer Dee Curry doesn’t have any particular success bringing horses off the layoff.  But he shows a sharpening work tab and should appreciate a distance at which he’s three-for-three.