Best Actor lives up to name in G3 Smarty Jones

Best Actor encountered plenty of trouble last time he raced, stumbling leaving the gate and racing wide throughout. For all that, he ran on willingly to be second in the Grade 3 Indiana Derby.

He encountered no such problems Tuesday in the Grade 3 Smarty Jones Stakes at Parx Racing, and the result was an authoritative victory. Under Florent Geroux, the three-year-old Flatter colt drew away to a 5 ¾-length victory in the 1 1/16-mile test.

Sent off the 5-2 second choice in the eight-horse field, Best Actor was never far off the pace set by Practical Coach, racing in second through a half-mile in 47.72 seconds. He took over easily midway on the far turn, and despite drifting in when failing to switch leads, he drew away to the easy score. Running time was 1:44.14 over a fast main track.

Best Actor paid $7.00 to win. The exacta with 12-1 shot Kissalot in second returned $71.20 for a two-dollar wager. Kissalot was two lengths in front of show horse Creative Minister, who went off the favorite.

Best Actor, trained by Brad Cox for Gary and Mary West, now has three wins in four career starts. The win pushed his career earnings over $382,000, more than the $330,000 he sold for as a yearling.

The Smarty Jones is the local prep for the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby September 24, and the win here puts Best Actor in good shape for that contest.

One race prior to the Smarty Jones, Green Up earned her fourth consecutive victory in the $150,000 Cathryn Sophia Stakes, the local prep for the Grade 1 Cotillion on the Pennsylvania Derby card.

Ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr. for Todd Pletcher, Green Up pressed the pace of 1-2 favorite Interstatedaydream, winner of the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan, though sharp early fractions of 22.95 seconds for the opener and 46.53 for the half. She took the lead at the quarter pole and drew away to win by 3 ¾ lengths, with Interstatedaydream holding the place and 6 ¼ lengths ahead of Morning Matcha in third.

Green Up covered the 1 mile 70 yards in a sharp 1:39.77 and paid $7.80 to win.

A Virginia-bred daughter of Upstart, Green Up fetched a winning bid of just $10,000 when sold as a yearling at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2020 yearling sale. She now has four wins in five starts and earnings of $220,760. She is owned by Team Valor International LLC.

  • Best Actor was much the best in the Grade 3 Smarty Jones. Photo by Nikki Sherman/EQUI-Photo.