Cathryn Sophia headlines PA Day at the Races
Cathryn Sophia dazzled in winning the Forward Gal early in 2016 at Gulfstream Park. Photo by Lauren King.
by Frank Vespe
Saturday will see the return of live racing to Parx Racing, the 16th edition of Pennsylvania’s Day at the Races, and 11 races at that track, 10 of them restricted to Pennsylvania-breds.
Yet while more than 100 horses are entered on the card, the eyes of the racing world will be focused primarily, if not solely, on just one of them.
And oddly enough, that one horse is a Maryland-bred: Cathryn Sophia.
The three-year-old daughter of Street Boss is the overwhelming 2-5 morning line favorite for the day’s eighth race, the $150,000, one-mile Princess of Sylmar Stakes. The race is the track’s final prep in advance of the Grade 1 Cotillion later in September.
Cathryn Sophia, bred by Bob Manfuso, has won five of seven career starts, with earnings of just over $1 million. Trained by John Servis, she counts the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks and Grade 2 Forward Gal and Davona Dale among her wins. She also finished third in a pair of Grade 1 events, the Ashland and the Acorn, and if all goes according to plan, will tackle the undefeated Songbird in the Cotillion.
For the first time, Paco Lopez will ride her.
Cathryn Sophia’s top rival looks to be Eighth Wonder (7-2), the speedy two-time stakes winner trained by Dee Curry. The bad news for Eighth Wonder, who’ll have regular pilot Jose Flores in the irons, is that this runner has done her best running at sprint distances and enters off a disappointing eighth-place finish in the Grade 3 Delaware Oaks.
The Princess of Sylmar, which will go as race eight on the card (post time 4:39), is one of a half-dozen stakes in the offing. The lineup also includes five $100,000 events restricted to Pennsylvania-breds:
- Banjo Picker Sprint Stakes — Lyman Stakes winner Roxbury N Overton is the 2-1 morning line favorite in this six-furlong test. Hector Caballero will ride for Ramon Preciado.
- Dr. Teresa Garofalo Memorial Stakes — Multiple stakes winner Disco Chick (2-1) is the chalk here in this six-furlong race for older fillies and mares. The Mario Serey trainee was third in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss at Saratoga two back and will have Trevor McCarthy in the irons.
- Mrs. Penny Stakes — Todd Pletcher trainee Rock Me Again (5-2) has been second or third in six of 12 career starts, versus just two wins, but the Rock Hard Ten filly, whose best result was a second place finish in Penn National’s Lyphard Stakes, gets the nod as favorite in this 1 1/16 mile turf test for the distaff crowd. Paco Lopez will ride.
- Roanoke Stakes — Defending champ Duff, who nosed out Page McKenney in this event last year, returns to defend his crown in this 1 1/16 mile race and is one-half of a one-owner (The Elkstone Group LLC), two-trainer entry that is lined at 9-5. Duff will be ridden by Huber Villa-Gomez for trainer Ron Potts. The other half of the entry is graded winner Edge of Reality, trained by Graham Motion, who enters off a win in the Robellino Stakes at Penn National. The son of Lawyer Ron, whose best result was a win in the Grade 3 Smarty Jones over the strip three years ago, will have Jeremy Rose in the irons.
- Marshall Jenney Handicap — Golden Emperor, with eight wins from 22 career starts, is the 5-2 morning line favorite in this five furlong, turf test. The J. Michael Rogers trainee will have Trevor McCarthy aboard.
- Queena Esther (12-1)
- Cathryn Sophia (2-5)
- Tenggara (20-1)
- R Shade of Gray (20-1)
- Disco Rose (20-1)
- Linda Mimi (6-1)
- Eighth Wonder (7-2)