The 2021 Pennsylvania Derby puts the Keystone State in the center of the horse racing world on Saturday afternoon. Parx Racing hosts the million-dollar event which will be one of the last stakes races of note for only three-year-olds on the thoroughbred racing schedule.
In addition to that, this could easily be a springboard to the Breeders’ Cup Classic for a few of these contenders. Both Hot Rod Charlie and Midnight Bourbon figure to be in the mix for that massive race coming up at the end of the year.
We have you covered for all the action with this 2021 Pennsylvania Derby betting preview. We’ll give you a look at the horses contending for the big purse. And we’ll tell you our pick for the race winner as well.
This colt has bounced around the country racking up wins of late. In a recent stretch of four of out of five victories, Fulsome has scored at Keeneland, Oaklawn, Churchill (a Grade 3), and, in his last start, the Grade 3 Smarty Jones at Parx.
He comes from one of the game’s hottest trainers, which is another boost to his chances. Fulsome might be stepping up, but he shouldn’t be forgotten in here.
Jockey Joel Rosario won this race six years ago aboard Frosted, so he’s back looking for his second Pennsylvania Derby. Keepmeinmind has gained a reputation as a deep closer who rallies just enough to get in the money but not enough to win.
Fourths in the Preakness and the Travers this year prove that he’s not afraid of the big stage. The seasoning should help him against some of the other up-and-comers in the field.
Trainer Bill Mott has a pair of Pennsylvania Derby wins to his credit, in 1998 and again in 2011. Speaker’s Corner has to prove he has the experience and the stamina to belong in this company.
He’s raced just three times in his career and only once in 2021 as a 3-year-old. And although he’s won two of those three, he’s never raced longer than seven furlongs or any higher than an allowance field to this point, all big concerns.
This colt has had his moments as a three-year-old, including a win in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes back in March. In his last three starts, Weyburn has been no worse than fourth, and the horses that beat him in those are a Who’s Who of the best three-year-olds this year.
The Pennsylvania Derby will be his first Grade 1, but the seasoning still seems to be there. He could be an interesting exotic play at long odds.
Races like the Pennsylvania Derby often get local favorites trying their luck against the shipping invaders. Such is the case with I Am Redeemed, who has made all four of his starts at Parx, giving him somewhat of a familiarity edge.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem like enough to overcome the class disadvantage. Going from allowances against other Pennsylvania horses to this field will be too much for him to handle.
Trainer Todd Pletcher won this race in 2002 with Harlan’s Holiday and will have entrants in here. Bourbonic is trying to recapture the magic he wove when he pulled off a major upset in the Wood Memorial back in the spring.
His two Triple Crown efforts were forgettable (13 in the Kentucky Derby, 5th in the Belmont.) And Bourbonic came up short in his last start in West Virginia, only finishing 3rd in a Grade 3.
This warrior had his biggest win taken away from him when stewards decided he committed interference in the Grade 1 Haskell in his last start. That doesn’t change the fact that he crossed the lien first against an excellent field.
Add to that his in-the-money finishes in two of the three Triple Crown races and you’ve got a horse with an extremely impressive record to boast. With Medina Spirit out of the picture, Hot Rod Charlie should go off as a deserving favorite on Saturday.
This colt bounced back from a roughed-up 6th-place finish in the Haskell to finish a close second to Essential Quality in the Travers. Since Essential Quality is widely regarded as the best in the age group, that speaks well of Midnight Bourbon.
Still, there hasn’t been any wins for this Steven Asmussen trainee since the very beginning of the campaign. At some point he has to prove he can be a winner instead of just a contender in these major races.
Jockey Luis Saez won this race with the great Will Take Charge back in 2013. In Americanrevolution, he’ll be guiding a colt who comes from a top barn and has a great record but hasn’t faced anywhere near this level of competition.
American Revolution has won three in a row in New York and took very well to the distance of 1 1/8 in his last start.
Look for Hot Rod Charlie to assert himself in this one on the front end after shaking free of Midnight Bourbon. We like Keepmeinmind to rally for second, Fulsome to come on for third, and Midnight Bourbon to drop back to fourth. Our superfecta ticket: 7-2-1-8
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