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A Little Warm vs. First Dude in Penn Derby

Wide trips hurt several of the top contenders in the August 28 Travers S. (G1), some of whom will congregate in search of amends in Saturday's $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (G2) at the former Philadelphia Park. Most noted among these is A LITTLE WARM (Stormin Fever), the Jim Dandy S. (G2) winner who raced four-wide in third around both turns of that 1-1/4 mile test before tiring to fifth. A Little Warm cuts back to 1-1/8 miles for the Pennsylvania Derby, which was re-positioned this year in order to serve as a final prep for the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1).

Even if Pennsylvania's signature event fails to yield major contenders for the Classic, the race still shapes up as an interesting one. Among the other Travers players returning here are FIRST DUDE (Stephen Got Even), who still seeks his first major win after placing in the Travers, Haskell Invitational (G1), Belmont S. (G1), Preakness S. (G1) and Blue Grass S. (G1). The Dale Romans charge, who is still eligible for a first-level allowance, endured a three-wide trip around both turns at Saratoga.

AFLEET AGAIN (Afleet Alex), who upset the Withers S. (G3) earlier this season, raced wide while racing near the back of the Travers field and had more left in the tank during the late stages to rally for fourth. Meanwhile, New York-bred stakes winner FRIEND OR FOE (Friends Lake) raced well off the rail around both turns at the Spa but failed to significantly improve his position and finished in midpack.

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