This past weekend was massive for the overall three-year old class. Parx Racing hosted the 2016 Pennsylvania Derby for three-year olds, and the 2016 Cotillion Stakes. Those two features were highlighted by big names like Songbird, Exaggerator and Nyquist so there was plenty on hand looking for breathatking performances. Only one of those champions, however, showed up prepared.
Connect Wins 2016 Pennsylvania Derby
Without a doubt, the main focus for this race was Exaggerator and Nyquist waging war for the eighth time in their storied careers. Neither was coming in to the mega-event at Parx Racing with a ton of momentum, so despite the odds at the Pennsylvania Derby favoring both of them, there was still a chance for someone else to steal the show.
That’s exactly what happened. Connect erupted down the homestretch after biding his time in the middle of the pack for the majority of the early stages, and held off Gun Runner to come through as a longshot. Nyquist and Exaggerator never really factored in when it mattered, each finishing 6th and 7th respectively.
Connect was worth a jaw dropping $23.20, $9.80, and $7.20 across the board. Gun Runner paid $5.40 and $4.00 in second. Wild About Deb slipped in as the third place horse with 61/1 odds delivering $21.20 to show.
The promising result for Connect at Parx Racing over the weekend could point him towards the Breeders’ Cup. Trainer Chad Brown was confident in his late bloomer moving forward. “He’s a horse that took a while to come around. He had a couple of minor injuries along the way and he finally showed yesterday what we thought all along about him. That he could be a top 3-year-old dirt horse,” continued Brown. “We’re very excited about him. So far he looks ok and we’ll form a plan in the days to come. The Breeders’ Cup will be considered, but there are other races as well and other routes we can take with him. He’s definitely an exciting horse for the future.”
The news for Nyquist, however, isn’t as glowing. His connections at Reddam Racing left Parx Racing with a bit of a doom and gloom attitude. “The winner ran well and we didn’t have any apparent excuse,” Paul Reddam said of Nyquist. “We’ll have to check the horse over and make sure that he’s well and we’ll work from there. That was definitely the worst performance of his life, so that’s not how you want to go into the Breeders’ Cup. Maybe it’ll somehow look different tomorrow, but I’m not sure how.”
Songbird Still Undefeated
The more expected victory at Parx Racing came through in a rather convincing way as Songbird literally ran away with the Cotillion Stakes. She laid back early behind Carina Mia, who did her best to hold on to an early lead for the whole race, with Cathryn Sophia attempting to stalk her from behind. As has been the case during her brilliant 11-race winning streak, Songbird was in a class all her own on this day too.
Songbird delivered $2.60, $2.10, and $2.10, while Carina Mia was worth $3.60 and $2.10 as a 6/1 third choice. Cathryn Sophia paid $2.10 at 5/2.
The next step for Songbird is simple. She’s headed to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff following an awesome showing at Parx Racing. “I don’t think we need a race in between, and we didn’t plan one, so right now I would say we could train up to the Breeders’ Cup,” Hollendorfer continued. “You come to a point in the road where you have to meet the big ones, and there’s a couple of big ones out there at Santa Anita, Beholder and Stellar Wind, those horses can really run. Our horse can really run, so we’d like to try those, and I think that’s good competition, if we all get there to the race at Santa Anita. You have to get there first. We’ll be looking forward to it if we can get there, and I think that we will.”