Handicapping Parx’s PA Day at the Races
August 21 kicks off two days of great racing at Parx. On Monday, Pennsylvania-breds are highlighted in the annual “Pennsylvania Day at the Races.” Coming off a three-week break, Parx is offering a 13-race program with plenty of big fields. Seven of the 13 contests are stakes, with two of them on the turf and the rest on the main track. All 13 races are restricted to PA-breds
My intention in this article is to highlight the contenders and bring attention to a factor or two that you might want to consider in your handicapping. My own personal wagering for the day will be limited to a few doubles and exactas that I noted, but the fun part of racing in my mind is making your own picks.
RACE 1 – State bred MSW filly race
I am not going to try and beat the favorite in this race. The #9, Ringer Card, is second time out for good connections. Her debut produced a good figure in a race where she was challenged and ran a game second. If you don’t want to take the short price, key her in the double.
If you do want to play against the favorite here, there are a couple of logical alternatives. #5 Dewey Doit, who was an $85,000 purchase, is trained by John Servis . #2 Sweet Mischief is trained by Michael Pino and makes her career bow. #8 Time of Our Lives was bet heavy first time out at Penn and now adds blinkers after a disappointing performance.
RACE 2 – State bred MSW
#5 Bartlett is well-bred, goes for top connections and has been working well, including a bullet work from the gate on July 26. #7 Time Tested is aptly named since it has ten clocked works in the last eleven weeks. Should be fit. #4 Kohler’s, like Bartlett, runs for Servis and has an identical bullet work from the gate as Bartlett on July 26. After that for me it is strictly a guess, but again if you are keying the favorite in the first, in the double don’t be afraid to go deeper here as there are at least six horses here that have a shot.
RACE 3 – State bred MSW filly race
I don’t like this race much as almost every horse appears to have no shot or raises major questions. The M/L favorite #3 Sandy Q has raced once since November and stopped badly in that race. If she wins, so be it. With their best either #4 Thearcherortheprey or #9 Tempest Rising could win, but they are 0 for 19 between them. A slight nod to the #1 Twist Her. Third time out after improving in her last and almost winning. Must break timely from the rail.
RACE 4 – State bred ALW filly race
Don’t like this race. Do note that we are late in the year so 3YO against older not such a taboo. Both #1 Marion Grace and #9 Warrior Ransom are in good form and like the surface, track and distance so might be able to overcome the fact they are running against older, but this is an 11-horse field crapshoot.
RACE 5: No opinion.
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RACE 6: 100K Dr. Teresa Garofalo Memorial Stakes
The #2 Remain Anonymous (who won this race last year) and #3 Gunfyre Gal have not run since November, and although they remain a danger and could win, I will look elsewhere. The #5 Midnight Alaska and #6 Golden Tabby both love the track and the distance. I will excuse the last performance of the #5 as being related to the off track. The #6 was good enough to defeat a few of these others in an allowance race a year ago on “Pennsylvania Day at the Races”. Wide-open race but I will start a double with the #5 and #6 and hope to get a little value as any of the seven entrants can win..
RACE 7: 100K Marshall Jenney Handicap
The #5 Fore Harp ran a huge figure two back and then ran poorly last out. His true form lies somewhere in between and he loves the track and distance. Likely the favorite and I will look to close out a double with three horses. The #7 Witty could beat him provided he gets a good start. Those slow starts have led to a number of 2nd place finishes. The #2 Smooth B also likes to finish shy but can win on best effort. Needed last after a freshening.
RACE 8: 100K Miss Blue Tye Dye Stakes
A number of these two-year-old fillies ran against each other in a state bred MSW on July 17. #9 Jody’s Ruby proved the best of that subset and finished 3rd with a respectable number. Her competition should come from one of three others: #8 Sirani, a first-time starter from Servis with some good works; #4 Steal the Deal, who was made the favorite against open MSW company but had a bad start before running wide; and #1 Bay Bay Birdie, who adds blinkers and gets a positive jockey change. Should improve 2nd time out.
RACE 9: 100K Banjo Picker Sprint Stakes
The Banjo Picker is literally a pick-em between #6 Uncle Ernie, #5 Beren and #7 Twisted Ride. Pennington chose the 6 over the 5 but expect a duel in the this contest.
RACE 10: 100K Whistle Pig Stakes
Find it interesting that 9 of the 10 runners are gelded, but otherwise, I have no opinion on the race.
RACE 11: 100K Storm Cat Stakes
Two defeats in a row for #3 Nimitz Class, but they were against better. #4 Buy Land and See and #5 Far Mo Power are his main rivals.
RACE 12. 100K Mrs. Penny Stakes
Trainer Butch Reid has two entered in this turf stake for fillies and mares, with Paco Lopez listed to ride on both. I’m assuming #10 Morning Matcha is entered in case this race comes off the turf. If that happens, she will be under even money and will be the pick. The forecast, however, makes it likely that the race will stay on the green, and if that is true, I will bet against Morning Matcha if she is not scratched because she is unproven on that surface.
The other Reid entry #8 Neecie Marie is my pick if the turf is firm. She is 2-for-2 on the Parx lawn and has the ability to improve. I suggest an exacta key with the #8 over the 1,3,5,6,7,9,11 and 12. All of those have some respectable turf, lines and the exactas should all exceed the 16-unit investment. If some of those exactas are too short for your liking you can eliminate the smaller prices, as the goal is not to bet $16 and win $22. The #5 Maldives Model scares me the most, but trainer Cassandra Judd’s 1-for-33 mark this season gives me pause. The others are closely matched, and with a big field the exactas should be fair value.
RACE 13 – State bred ALW
The #10 Mac Daddy Too will be a deserving low price favorite. Has a class and speed figure edge over this field. Note that both #11 Windsor Gold and #12 McCrakens Ghost are proven on the surface. They could surprise and will be much better value. Suggest playing exactas keying the 11 and 12 over the 5,10,11 and 12. Included the #5 Keithsendshelloooo on the bottom because he also shows an affinity for the surface and is often in the money.