Expert picks: No consensus in Pennsylvania Derby

Expert picks: No consensus in Pennsylvania Derby
Photo: NYRA

The 2021 Pennsylvania Derby (G1) at Parx is set to go off on Saturday. Here is how the experts will be playing the race.

Ron Flatter, Horse Racing Nation

Winner: #3 Speaker's Corner

On the board: #7 Hot Rod Charlie

Long shot I like: #5 I Am Redeemed

Analysis: Speaker’s Corner may be lightly raced, but he looked like no fluke in his allowance win last month at Saratoga. That 101 Beyer and a stalking style could translate profitably in a race where the two shortest priced horses may have incurable cases of second-itis.

Reinier Macatangay, Setting the Pace

Winner: #8 Midnight Bourbon

On the board: #3 Speaker's Corner

Long shot I like: #10 Americanrevolution

Analysis: Midnight Bourbon gave a solid effort when second in the Preakness Stakes after a challenging pace scenario. His often criticized effort in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga a few weeks ago counts as a good race too, as he put five lengths on the third-place Miles D and only lost to a quality 3-year-old in Essential Quality by a neck. If Midnight Bourbon fails, then unproven talents such as Speaker's Corner and Americanrevolution both show enough ability on paper to take the next step in this Grade 1 stakes race. Hot Rod Charlie will probably hit the board, but his expected odds are too low to accept on top.

Candice Curtis

Winner: #1 Fulsome

On the board: #7 Hot Rod Charlie, #8 Midnight Bourbon

Long shot I like: #6 Bourbonic

Analysis: This year's Penn Derby appears to have a very pressured pace setup, with Midnight Bourbon, Weyburn, Hot Rod Charlie and Americanrevolution all on the front end. Midnight Bourbon is tenacious and could possibly hold off all pursuers in this race, but I think the 9-furlong distance will work against him. In this case I am going with a reliable closer who has experience at Parx - Fulsome. Since switching to dirt, only a slow-paced Indiana Derby has thwarted this Into Mischief colt. Use No. 1 Fulsome on top in your wagers, with pressers underneath

I will play a 6-8-10 trifecta box.

Victor Ryan, Horse Racing Nation

Winner: #7 Hot Rod Charlie

On the board: #8 Midnight Bourbon

Long shot I like: #10 Americanrevolution

Analysis: Hot Rod Charlie makes a third trip to the east coast for what will be his sixth start at as many different tracks this year. While I would prefer he was drawn outside of likely pacesetter Midnight Bourbon, Hot Rod Charlie looks to be coming into this in top form for O'Neill after receiving a brief freshening following his game Haskell effort in July. I'll give him the slight edge to scoot past Midnight Bourbon in the final furlong. Americanrevolution is on the ascent for Pletcher. He could be the one to capitalize if the pace is extra lively.

I'll likely play an exacta box keying Americanrevolution in both slots with the two favorites.

Mark Midland

Winner: #7 Hot Rod Charlie

On the board: #3 Speaker's Corner

Long shot I like: #1 Fulsome

Analysis: Without EQ in here, finally Hot Rod Charlie, Midnight Bourbon, Weyburn and Keepmeinmind get their chances.

Look for Weyburn and Midnight Bourbon to shoot to the lead and HRC to stalk. We see a potential swift pace, where HRC stalks on the rail behind him.  We'll bet against Midnight Bourbon in this one, which should create some value.

The bet:

$1 trifecta 7 with 1,3,10, with 1,3,4,8,10

Mike Shutty, Super Screener

Winner: #3  Speaker's Corner

On the board: #7 Hot Rod Charlie, #8 Midnight Bourbon

Long shot I like: #10 Americanrevolution

Analysis: This time of year, high potential horses that got off to a great start in their 2-year-old season but had to be put away for whatever reason but are now making their second start off a solid return to the track often improve several points in their next start. These late bloomers often get overlooked with punters leaning on established runners, instead. Speaker's Corner and Americanrevolution, to a lesser extent, fit that profile very well.

Jarrod Horak, Best Bets

Winner: #3 Speaker's Corner

On the board: #7 Hot Rod Charlie

Long shot I like: #2 Keepmeinmind

Analysis: Speaker's Corner was highly regarded as a juvenile, and he looked sharp in his much anticipated sophomore return at Saratoga. He is ambitiously spotted in his route and stakes debut for Bill Mott. Hot Rod Charlie is the class of the field and I like his early-pressing versatility. Keepmeinmind got the wrong setup in the Travers. He ran well in his last two graded tries at this distance. Wagers: #3 to win; Exacta 3-7/2-3-7; Trifecta 3-7/ALL/2

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