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Breaking Down The Best Bets For Saturday’s Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby

Posted by on 9/16/2015 8:53:31 AM

American Pharoah might not compete following its Triple Crown win but even without him the field for the 2015 Pennsylvania Derby is pretty impressive once again. Building off last year’s race that featured Bayern and California Chrome, this weekend’s Grade 2 race has assembled a formidable field of 10 horses led by the Wood Memorial winner Frosted. $1 million will be on the line in Saturday’s Grade 2 race and all eyes will be on Parx to see which horse captures the big prize. That money and the excitement will make the summer’s other major race for three-years-old horses worth tuning in to and the strength at the top certainly makes it worth betting on with one particular horse emerging as a legitimate sleeper play. Here is a look at the best bets on the board for Saturday’s Pennsylvania Derby.

Frosted +250

The Kiaran McLaughlin trained horse will headline this class after proving its worth in three tough races including the Kentucky Derby, Belmont and Travers, in which he really did challenge American Pharoah as a horse that could have registered a win if it wasn’t for the presence of the 2015 Triple Crown winner. The grey colt will be the obvious favorite at +250 odds and while some are cautious about how much he has left in the tank there is every reason to think another victory could be in the cards.

Madefromlucky +400

Another horse that was forced to run against American Pharoah this summer is Madefromlucky, a +400 bet that was well beaten by the 2015 Triple Crown winner in three of the last seven races it was entered in. While the son of Lookin at Lucky didn’t perform well in races that featured American Pharoah, he actually won all four of his other starts including the Grade 2 West Virginia Derby. Todd Pletcher knows what he has in this horse and it’s no surprise it is among the favorites to win the Pennsylvania Derby this weekend.

Upstart +450

Rick Violette’s Upstart hasn’t performed very well in recent races with a third-place finish in the Haskell and a fourth-place finish in the Travers but he is listed at +450 odds to win this race and there are some that are confident he can get it done. There is no doubt that Upstart is a talented enough horse but it just hasn’t been able to do enough to get that elusive win in some notable races of late. However, earlier in the year Upstart did get the best of Frosted in a pair of graded stake races at Gulfstream Park early in the year and the potential is certainly there for another victory this Saturday.

Gimme Da Lute +500

There are a handful of talented sophomore horses looking to upset Frosted and secure their first seven-figure dollar win and one more horse to keep an eye out for this weekend is Gimme Da Lute. The son of champion Midnight Lute has really come around this summer and any horse that heats up under the watchful eye of Bob Baffert cannot be overlooked. Since returning to California last spring, Gimme Da Lute has strung together four straight stakes wins with that winning streak recorded at four different distances and at three different racetracks. This horse’s versatility and the fact that it is peaking at the right time means Gimme Da Lute is an excellent bet at +500 this weekend.

Island Town +1000

One of the most interesting bets on the board that isn’t being talked about enough is the up and coming Island Town, which is a quality sleeper play as one of three horses listed at+1000 odds to win this race outright. The son of Hard Spun has won graded stakes races in two of its last three races including a sharp win at the recent Smarty Jones stakes over the main surface there. In fact, Island Town’s only disappointing start was on a wet track in the Indiana Derby two starts back and if you take that away he has actually been excellent. The Ian Wilkes trained runner should have no problem holding its own against some of the favorites to win this race so it would make a lot of sense to put a small amount of money down on Island Town for Saturday’s race.

War Story +2000

Mr. Z and Tommy Macho are also listed at +1000 odds but we like War Story as a deep sleeper pick that actually has the potential to win this race despite being listed at +2000 odds. War Story finished third in the West Virginia Derby the last time out and had a decent run at the Kentucky Derby. War Story might not win this race but this horse could be worth playing as a deep sleeper pick to at least place and make some money for those betting on the 2015 Pennsylvania Derby.


Frosted deserves to be the favorite at this race based on what it has accomplished over the last year but our consensus best bet for this weekend’s event is the rising star Island Town. The field is tough at the top with Frosted, Madefromlucky, Upstart and Gimme de Lute but Island Town has emerged as a sleeper pick that has been somewhat overlooked heading in to this Grade 2 race. $1 million will be on the line in Saturday’s race and with the stakes at their highest we will bet on Island Town to turn some heads and finally break through with a tremendous win.

Pick: Island Town +1000



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