After a year away, it’s good to be back. That’s what you’ve heard on the backstretch at Parx as the days get closer to the biggest day in racing in the Keystone State. The Pennsylvania Derby is back.
Following a year’s hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, a 13-race card comes to Parx Saturday, Eight stakes races – highlighted by a pair of $1 million Grade 1 races, the Cotillion and Pennsylvania Derby – worth $3.4 million will be held.
“It will be good to see the nation get a chance to look at us and look at the quality product we put out here,” veteran Parx trainer Robert “Butch” Reid said. “There are good horsemen here with good horses. To get the national press is a very good thing for the track. It was like last year never happened because we missed out on our big day.”
Reid has horses running in five races. He will send out Beren in the Grade 2, $300,000 Gallant Bob for 3-year-olds where he will tackle the imposing Jackie’s Warrior.
Beren, owned by St. Omer’s Farm and Christopher Feifarek, is 6-1 on the morning line and will be ridden by Frankie Pennington, the second leading rider at the Parx meet with 121 wins.
In eight career starts at Parx, Beren has four wins and two seconds. Overall, he has six wins in 12 career starts. The Gallant Bob will be his second graded stakes start; he was third in the Grade 3 Bay Shore at Belmont in April.
“It’s obviously a monumental chore,” Reid said about going up against Jackie’s Warrior, the 4-5 morning line favorite. “But the horse always gives a good effort and we will certainly give it a try.”
Beren is coming off a front-running 6 ½-length win in the Parx Summer Sprint Stakes on Aug. 24. His trainer says his horse does not need the lead to win.
“He won a race at Belmont (Gold Fever on May 9) and he stumbled out of the gate, righted himself, and ran really well,” Reid said. “He is just an honest horse.”
Reid has also entered 6-year-old Smooth B in the five-furlong Grade 3, $300,000 Turf Monster and Ninetypercentbrynn in the $200,000 Plum Pretty at 1 1/16 miles.
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