This evening’s New Start Stakes — the first of two Pennsylvania-bred added money events at Penn National — figures to be either the Tom McClay Show or the Bernie Houghton Show.
McClay owns the three-headed 1-1A-1X entry of Kazuri, Capar Girl, and Brennan, while Houghton trains the second-named of that trio, as well as #3 Party (8-1) and #5 Rockin Jojo (9-5). The six furlong test for state-bred sophomore fillies will be race one, and post time is 6:00 p.m.
Rockin Jojo, a daughter of Street Magician, is the lone stakes winner in the field. She took last November’s Blue Mountain Juvenile Fillies over the strip, scoring nicely by 1 1/2 lengths. But she’s winless in three tries since, most recently running second and then third against allowance rivals at Parx Racing. David Cora, the jock who guided the filly to her maiden score, will do the honors.
Kazuri, trained by Michael Salvaggio and one part of the tripartite entry, ran second to Rockin Jojo in the Blue Mountain but enters this event off a comfy score against local allowance rivals. In fact, all three parts of the entry, which also includes Brandon Kulp trainee Brennan, enter this event off clear victories in allowance company.
Another runner worth a gander is the improving #6 C R S Angels (4-1), trained by Keith Nations. The daughter of Medallist has won three of five, and while she failed as the favorite last out, it was her first try over a grass course she may not have liked. Switched back to the main track, she’ll have a chance to move forward. The Parx shipper will have Frankie Pennington in the irons.
Later in the card, race six (8:16 post time), the Danzig Stakes for three-year-old state-breds, has drawn a field of nine runners.
#4 Instructor Kunu has been installed as the 5-2 favorite after winning his last two races by a combined 16 lengths. It appears the light’s gone on for the son of E Dubai, who gave evidence of talent back in December in his third career start when running second at long odds to the highly regarded Nasa in the Pennsylvania Nursery. Chuck Lopez will ride for trainer John Terranova.
The field’s only stakes winner, #9 Duff (3-1), has taken two added-money events and defeated Nasa in the Christopher Elser Memorial at Parx in November. He’s made only one start since, an even effort in the Tom Ridge Stakes in May over the synthetic at Presque Isle Downs, but switching to conventional dirt — the surface over which his two best BRIS figures have come, and in his only two starts on it — and in his second off the layoff, this runner has the right to move forward.
The show horse from the Pennsylvania Nursery, #5 Blitzensmajikreign (9-2), is also here and has shown steady improvement for trainer Marcos Zulueta. In his most recent try, on May 30, he ran second against second-level allowance foes while earning the field’s top BRIS speed figure. He’ll have Angel Castillo in the irons.
One longshot worthy of consideration is #2 Amplified (15-1). The son of Smarty Jones won nicely at first asking while earning an 80 BRIS fig, and the runner-up from that race won next out. The bad news is that Tammi Piermarini, who rode him in his maiden score, jumps ship to ride #3 Love Rules (6-1); but Angel Rodriguez, winning at a 21 percent clip (and 40 percent with trainer Brandon Kulp in the last 60 days), is an able substitute.