Mr. Money’s camp embraces Pennsylvania Derby challenge

August 21, 2019 11:28am
Mr. Money’s camp embraces Pennsylvania Derby challenge
Photo: Coady Photography

Mr. Money returned to the work tab Wednesday morning at Churchill Downs toward a defining race for the streaking 3-year-old. A winner of four straight races in Grade 3 company, the colt has Parx Racing’s Grade 1, $1 million Pennsylvania Derby as his next target on Sept. 21.

“Everything went well,” trainer Bret Calhoun said after Mr. Money, a son of Goldencents, zipped through a half mile in 47.20 seconds. “Obviously he went a little faster than we wanted, but he usually does. He did it very easily.”

Splits measured 24.20 and 36.20 seconds with a five-furlong gallop out in 1:00.80 for Mr. Money, who’s campaigned by Chester Thomas’ Allied Racing.

In his last start, Mr. Money stretched back out to 1 1/8 miles in winning the West Virginia Derby (G3) by six lengths over Chess Chief, a longshot Travers Stakes (G1) contender. The victory added to prior scores in the Pat Day Mile (G3), Matt Winn Stakes (G3) and Indiana Derby (G3).

The waters will deepen in the Pennsylvania Derby with its anticipated headliner Maximum Security, the multiple Grade 1 winner who was disqualified from another major score in the Kentucky Derby.

Pending results of the Travers and other races for 3-year-olds, such as Sunday’s Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar, the Pennsylvania Derby's prospective field will continue growing. Other familiar names from the Triple Crown series — War of Will, Improbable and Spinoff — could also appear.

“We really are looking forward to it,” Calhoun said. “I hope everybody gets there safe and healthy and at their best. We kind of campaigned pointing toward this race. Hopefully everyone shows up and we’re fortunate enough to win.”

To defeat Maximum Security would also vault Mr. Money into Eclipse Award competition for top 3-year-old male.

Calhoun said connections haven’t thought much past the Pennsylvania Derby, but this time he didn’t completely close the door on running in the Breeders’ Cup. Thomas, a Kentucky-based owner, has in the past said he wouldn’t enter his horses at Santa Anita Park, where equine fatalities dominated racing’s news cycle the first half of the season.

There would be other spots to make a statement, too, with Churchill Downs hosting the late November Clark Handicap (G1) in Mr. Money’s backyard.

“We had a 3-year-old campaign mapped out for him all the way through the Pennsylvania Derby, and that’s kind of where we left it,” Calhoun said. “We’re up in the air after that. There’s a lot of moving parts.

“In the Breeders’ Cup, you’re up against older horses. It’s in California, where they’ve had some problems. There’s also a lot of big-money races next year with the new race in Saudi (Arabia, the Saudi Cup), the Pegasus and the (Dubai) World Cup.

“There’s a lot of things out there where you could decide to give a little breather here or there and point to those. We haven’t made any decisions past this race.”

2019 Pennsylvania Derby (G1)

 

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