Labor Day at Parx is shining with stakes action, featuring three large graded stakes fields, on one of its signature days. From distance specialists, to a strong group of three-year-olds, and top class turf sprinters, Smarty Jones Day should not disappoint.
The first of the three graded stakes on the card is the 1 1/2 mile Greenwood Cup, headed by Birdstone winner Micromanage. The Repole runner proved to be a distance fanatic when blowing away his competition in the mile and three quarters marathon of the Birdstone by 8 1/2 lengths. Micromanage also sports a win in the 9.5f G3 Skip Away, a third in the 10f Drosselmeyer, and a second in the 12f G2 Brooklyn this year and is the one to beat as the 2-1 ML favorite.
The biggest threat to Micromanage could come as the Mott-trained Abraham, who is entering the Greenwood Cup off of two consecutive allowance wins. Possible pace setters Irsaal, second to Micromanage in the Birdstone, and Adirondack King, a narrowly defeated second in the West Virginia Governor's Stakes, could have a possible say in the outcome as well. Adirondack King also is quite familiar with Parx, having notched all five of his wins at the Pennsylvania oval. The Argentinean-bred Ever Rider has had some of his best races come over longer distances and landed his first North American win last time out in an allowance at Saratoga after running second in a pair of classic distance stakes earlier in the year. Call Me George, Lideris, Sailor's Revenge, Cary Street, and Slim Pickins round of the field.
The G3 Smarty Jones at a mile and seventy yards is the feature on the card for three-year-old and has drawn the likes of Albano, Protonico, and Almost Famous, among others. Albano is coming into the Smarty Jones off of a strong second place finish in the Haskell Invitational and is undoubtedly the one to beat. Albano landed his first graded stakes win when running away in the Pegasus to score by 6 1/2 lengths and only finished worst than second once this year when a roughed up fourth in the Louisiana Derby.
Protonico was last seen finishing only a head behind eventual Travers winner V.E. Day when third in the Curlin and has every right to improve off of that performance. Almost Famous was the beaten favorite last out in the Ohio Derby, beaten by 2 1/4 lengths after setting the pace over the wet fast track. Just Call Kenny suffered his first finish outside of the exacta when sixth in his graded stakes debut in the Haskell and could rebound with the step back in class. Maryland-bred Joint Custody finished off the board for the first time this year when on the early pace in the Curlin in his first start outside of Maryland and will be making his graded stakes debut in the Smarty Jones. Prince of Wales runner up Lynx, Ain't Got Time, Classic Giancroll, Grasshoppin, and Saa Mi complete the line up.
The Maryland-bred legend that is Ben's Cat is looking to avenge his loss in last year's Turf Monster and will be facing the two horses who narrowly defeated him in last year's contest, Tightend Touchdown and Stormofthecentury. Ben's Cat is searching for his third win in the Turf Monster, 23rd stakes win, and 28th career win when making his 42nd start.
2013 Breeders Cup Turf Sprint runner up Tightend Touchdown was caught on the wire by Ben's Cat last time out in the Parx Dash, but before that came home an easy winner when becoming the only two time winner of the Pennsylvania Governors Cup. One of the more interesting entries is the Doug O'Neill trained Private Zone, who will be making his first start since finishing second in last year's Cigar Mile, and will be using the Turf Monster as a springboard to the Breeders Cup Sprint. Stormofthecentury, who upset Ben's Cat and Tightend Touchdown at odds of 28-1 in last year's Turf Monster, is looking to defend his title, while Silks Run Stakes victor Bold Thunder was beaten only 1 1/2 lengths by Ben's Cat in the Parx Dash last out in his first graded stakes try. Sharp Sensation, Tell All You Know, Berlino Di Tiger, A P Elvis, Risk Factor, and Petey Cramer complete the field.
Can Micromanage continue his distance dominance? Will Albano notch another graded stakes win in the Smarty Jones? Will turf sprinting star Ben's Cat add another graded stakes victory to his already incredible resume? With many questions waiting to be answered, Parx is bound to produce exciting results and offer many great betting opportunities and great stakes action on Labor Day.