Parx Racing stakes spot plays for Aug. 23

August 22nd, 2022

Parx Racing features a trio of stakes races on Tuesday, including the $200,000 Parx Dash S. for three-year-olds and up, and the $300,000 Smarty Jones S. for sophomores.

Below, TwinSpires provides our top horses for each of the three stakes on tap.

Race 10 — Parx Dash S. (5:11 p.m. ET)

#8 The Critical Way (2-1) drew a favorable outside post in this field of 11 (with three of those main track-only entries). The eight-year-old Tizway gelding failed as the favorite last out in the Wolf Hill S. at Monmouth Park, coming home fifth by 4 1/2 lengths in the 5 1/2-furlong dash.

Three back, the dark bay won by 2 1/2 lengths at today's shorter distance in the Get Serious S. The Jose Delgado pupil is 19 7-4-2 at today's distance, and his 104 Brisnet Speed rating is the fastest on turf among today's field.

Delgado is also a 28% winner with horses beaten as the favorite last out and a 24% winner in non-graded stakes. A rider switch to hot jockey Paco Lopez (a 22% winner this meet), who won with The Critical Way in a five-furlong turf sprint at Parx last August, gives the eight-year-old an even better chance to return to the winner's circle.

Race 11 — Cathryn Sophia S. (5:43 p.m. ET)

#2 Interstatedaydream (9-5) will be tough to beat in the one mile and 70-yard test for fillies and mares. The Brad Cox trainee clocked a 99 BRIS figure last out when winning the 1 1/16-mile Indiana Oaks (G3) at Horseshoe Indianapolis following her triumph in the Black-Eyed Susan S. (G2) on the Preakness undercard in late May.

Regular rider Florent Geroux, who has three wins from four starts with the filly, will stay in the saddle while making the drop in class with the three-year-old.

Race 12 — Smarty Jones S. (G3) (6:18 p.m. ET)

Following two races in which the morning line favorites appear ripe for victory, the final stakes race of the evening provides much more parity.

#3 Pioneer of Medina (3-1) opened as the morning line favorite among this field of 10, which includes the likes of Triple Crown competitor #4 Creative Minister (9-2), the lightly raced Chad Brown three-year-old #1 Golden Alchemist (4-1), and live longshot #9 Kissalot (12-1), out of Saffie Joseph's barn.

Pioneer of Medina was last seen finishing 19th of 20 in the Kentucky Derby (G1) on May 7 and will make his first start in three months for trainer Todd Pletcher. The Pioneerof the Nile son has not won since Jan. 22, when first in an optional claimer at today's 1 1/16-mile distance at Fair Grounds.

Irad Ortiz Jr., a 31% winner with routes, will pick up the mount, but I will look for value elsewhere.

Creative Minister came up short on the Triple Crown trail, with a third in the Preakness (G1) and fifth in the Belmont (G1), before flattening to a third-place finish in the Curlin S. at Saratoga last out on July 29. The Creative Cause colt will now cut back to the distance where he got his last win, in an allowance optional claimer on the Kentucky Derby undercard, in which he posted a 101 BRIS rating, the best speed figure among today's field.

The gray is due for a win after facing some of the best three-year-olds of the season and posted a sharp 59-second, five-furlong workout ahead of today's race.

Trainer Kenny McPeek is a 27% winner with horses beaten as the favorite in their last race, and jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. is 11-for-44 (25%) when paired up with McPeek over the last two months.

Kissalot is also worth a shot at long odds after romping to a 4 1/4-length victory in a 1 1/8-mile allowance at Saratoga on July 30. The three-year-old gelding moves up in class in his second start for Saffie Joseph, a 25% winner with dirt starts and a 24% winner with horses that won their last race. Jose Ortiz will stay in the irons.