On this late summer Tuesday, which will feel like late summer rather than early fall, we will play a few races at Parx Racing. This is partly because we like the card today, and partly to highlight the suburban Philadelphia track that will host the Pennsylvania Derby, by far the biggest racing day of the year in the Keystone State, in a bit under two weeks. It should be fast at firm at Parx today; let's go.
Parx Racing, Race 1, 12:55 pm ET
$40,000 Maiden Claiming, 5 1/2 furlongs, dirt, 3 & up
There's an even-money favorite in here, 6-Chitown, and while we can understand why he is favored -- he finished second at this level at Monmouth Park on August 24 -- we think his edge is slight, and at a short price, he looks like a big underlay. He may win this, but at miserly odds, he's a stone-cold play-against.
We like 4-Manipulate. This 3-year-old colt is a career maiden, winless in eight starts, but his races in the spring and early summer, all at the Maiden Special Weight level, were far superior than what the other entrants in this race have done. His last race was dull, but he was claimed out of that race, and trainer Scott Lake has given him some time off for a freshening. Lake has good numbers both first off the claim and coming off a layoff (15% and 16% win rates, respectively). We don't think we will get the 10-1 morning line price, but we will bet him to win anyway. The bet: Parx, Race 1, $20 to win on 4-Manipulate.
Parx Racing, Race 3, 1:49 pm ET
$16,000 Claiming, 6 furlongs, dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & up
3-Risaalaat is the pick here. This 3-year-old filly ran well, hitting the board without winning, in a couple of Maiden Special races at Parx last fall, and then dropped to $16k maiden claiming company at Delaware Park, breaking her maiden by wiring the field in a fast time. She has the best last-race speed figure and has the most early speed; we expect a repeat of her last, and for her to control the race from start to finish. We will bet her to win at 5/2. The bet: Parx, Race 3, $30 to win on 3-Risaalaat.
Parx Racing, Race 7, 3:37 pm ET
Starter Allowance, 1 mile, turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & up
A full field of twelve draws into this one. There's quite a bit of speed in the race, which causes us to think that a horse will win from off the pace. 5-Miss Jen is by far the strongest closer, and we think the shape of this race sets up for her perfectly. We see her running comfortably toward the back of the pack during the race's early stages, and then making a big move as the front-runners tire at the top of the stretch. We expect a top effort from this 4-year-old filly; look for the gray making up lots of ground late. We will bet her to win at 2-1, and we will bet her with 3-I'm the Talent (see below) in the Daily Double covering races 7 and 8. The bets: Parx, Race 7, $40 to win on 5-Miss Jen; $25 double, 5 (Miss Jen) with 3 (I'm the Talent).
Parx Racing, Race 8, 4:04 pm ET
Allowance, 6 furlongs, dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & up
Eleven female runners make up the field for this tough first-level allowance. We like the chalk, 3-I'm the Talent. This Scott Lake trainee is coming out of a minor stakes race at Parx, where she set very fast fractions on a track that was biased against speed and in favor of closers. On what we are assuming will be a fair track today, we think she gets a good trip from her inside post; she can either win on the lead, or stalk if another runner wants the front. That versatility will server her well here, and makes her strictly the one to beat. We will bet her to win at 9/5. The bet: Parx, Race 8, $35 to win on 3-I'm the Talent.
That's all for today. As always, good luck at the windows.