Top field set for Saturday’s Cotillion
Jaywalk and Joe Bravo won the G3 Delaware Oaks. Photo by Allison Janezic.
A field of 11 is slated to contest Saturday’s $1 million, Grade 1 Cotillion for three-year-old fillies Saturday at Parx Racing, and though the field includes the likes of champion two-year-old filly Jaywalk and this year’s Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks winner Serengeti Empress, it’s the undefeated Guarana who is expected to be the star of the show — and is the 9-5 morning line favorite.
Trained by Chad Brown, the Ghostzapper filly burst on to the scene with an eye catching performance in her career debut, winning a special weight at Keeneland by fourteen and three-quarter lengths. Moving immediately to Grade 1 company, she came right back to win the Acorn at Belmont, this time flashing home six lengths in front. She then made it three for three, holding off Point of Honor, winning by a length in the G1 Coaching Club American Oaks. Jose Ortiz has the mount.
Representing the home team, trainer John Servis will send out Jaywalk (6-1). The Cross Traffic filly finished her 2018 season with wins in the G1 Frizette and the G1 Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies, victories that propelled her to an Eclipse Award. A bit out of sorts after moving to Florida at the start of the year, she flashed her brilliance again after coming back north and winning the G3 Delaware Oaks. She’ll be coming from her own stall at her home track for a trainer that knows how to win big races, but, with Joel Rosario in the irons, she’ll have to work out a trip from the far outside in the 1 1/16-mile test.
Serengeti Empress (7-2) wowed everyone last year with a double digit victory in the Ellis Park Debutante and then went to Churchill and won the G2 Pocahontas by 19 lengths. Her only subpar effort this year was when she bled in the G2 Fair Grounds Oaks. She’s won the G2 Rachel Alexandra and the G1 Kentucky Oaks and has run second in the G1 Acorn and G1 Test. Her defeat in the Acorn came at the hands of Guarana, but that was a one turn mile and she was hounded through blazing fractions yet still managed to stay on to be a clear second. Irad Ortiz, Jr. has the mount for Tom Amoss.
Two other runners also are in single-digit odds. Street Band, who achieved graded success in winning the G2 Fair Grounds Oaks and G3 Indiana Oaks, is 8-1 for trainer Larry Jones and will have Sophie Doyle up. And three-time Grade 1 winner Bellafina, who took this year’s G1 Santa Anita Oaks for trainer Simon Callaghan, is 6-1 on the morning line and will have Flavien Prat in the irons.
A terrific undercard is topped by the $300,000 Gallant Bob Stakes, a six furlong sprint for three year-olds. Having been upgraded last fall, it will be run as a Grade 2 race for the first time.
Four other stakes will be contested on the giant Saturday program. State-breds square off in the $100,000 Alphabet Soup on the turf at one mile and one-sixteenth and the $100,000 Plum Pretty Stakes for fillies and mares on the main track at that same distance. The $150,000 Turf Amazon pits lady sprinters on the grass at five furlongs. Rounding it out is the $150,000 Parx Dirt Mile.
For the first time, the Cotillion and Pennsylvania Derby will be broadcast to a national audience, the races covered by NBC from 5:00 to 6:00PM. The card on Saturday will have 13 races with a post time of 12:25PM. Gates will open to the public at 11AM. Cotillion post time is scheduled for 5:12PM. PA Derby post time is set for 5:50PM.
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