Following a two-week hiatus to enable a reconstruction of its paddock, Parx Racing will be back in action on Saturday when the Philadelphia-area track begins its newly-branded Fall Festival.
Daily purses at Parx are expected to average $500,000 through October 20. The traditional fall features of the meeting will be the Pennsylvania Derby (G2) and Cotillion (G1), both of which carry $1 million purses and will be held, along with the $300,000 Gallant Bob (G3) for three-year-old sprinters, on September 19.
Other major features of the meet will be the $300,000 Turf Monster H. (G3), $200,000 Greenwood Cup (G3), and $200,000 Turf Amazon H., all scheduled for Labor Day, September 7, and the $200,000 PTHA President’s Cup for older turf runners on September 12.
Saturday’s feature is the $300,000 Smarty Jones (G3), a Pennsylvania Derby prep contested over one mile and 70 yards.
Divining Rod, winner of the Lexington (G3) in April, is the likely favorite after subsequently placing in the Preakness (G1), Ohio Derby, and Indiana Derby (G2).
Other leading contenders are multiple stakes winner Souper Colossal, runner-up in the West Virginia Derby (G2) last time, and Island Town, who a scored a half-length decision in the Matt Winn (G3) at Churchill Downs prior to fifth in the Indiana Derby that was contested in the slop.
Tekton, who was among the original eight entries for the Smarty Jones, reportedly suffered a condylar fracture at Saratoga on Monday and will not run.
(Divining Rod photo: Keeneland/Coady Photography)