- The Cotillion Stakes Saturday at PARX has a $1 million purse
- The biggest racing day of the year in Pennsylvania features five graded stakes races
- Where can we find betting value Saturday near Philadelphia?
Give credit to the people that run PARX. Most of the year the track formerly known as Philadelphia Park, located about 20 miles north of the city, is an afterthought to those who follow the top thoroughbreds. On Saturday, they are the top dog, and all eyes will be focused on them.
Owners, trainers and jockeys from across the country descend on the City of Brotherly Love this weekend because PARX has two $1 million races and three other graded stakes. While the Pennsylvania Derby is the main event, a potential prep for the Breeders Cup Classic, the Cotillion Stakes has an equally robust purse, and each of the five races are important steps on the road to the Breeders Cup.
The Cotillion is a competitive event with eight three-year-old fillies going to battle. A price is certainly possible, though favorite Clairiere has been consistently taking on the best of the best.
Let’s look carefully at the Cotillion, briefly consider the other stakes, and see where we can find betting value.
2021 Cotillion Stakes Odds
|Leader of the Band||+1200|
Odds as of Sept 25th
The Cotillion is a mile-and-a-sixteenth event on the main course. Run since 1969, six eclipse award winners have participated in the event. Shuvee, Susan’s Girl, Revidere, Ashado, Havre de Grace, and Untapable all parlayed victories in the Cotillion into year end honors.
TVG has television coverage of PARX all day on Saturday. The Cotillion is slated to start at 5:02 pm ET.
Let’s look carefully at several of the betting options.
Clairiere has won just twice in eight starts, has not finished first since February, and sometimes falls too far behind to make up enough ground. That said, she is running against the top horses, falling twice to Malathaat and once to Travel Column since her last victory.
She steadied going into the first turn last time out, and still just missed against Malathaat. That makes Clairiere a reasonable favorite in this race.
Army Wife finished just behind Clairiere in The Alabama. She entered that race having won back-to-back graded stakes.
Her wins are not against the top competition, but they are impressive. She is reunited with jockey Joel Rosario, who is two-for-two on Army Wife, in this race
It isn’t crazy to look at the field and wonder whether Always Carina could be loose on the lead. Controlling speed is very dangerous, and there is no doubt John Velazquez is going to the front with Always Carina.
Trainer Chad Brown isn’t certain whether Always Carina wants two-turn races, but she was second in the Mother Goose Stakes in her only try. She has two wins and a second in three-lifetime efforts.
Maracuja shocked Malathaat in July at Saratoga.
After finishing seventh in the Kentucky Oaks, and then winning the CCA Oaks, she got off slowly and was a non-factor against Malathaat, Clairiere, and Army Wife in August. Did she just run one brilliant race, or can we excuse the last dull effort?
Like Maracuja, in order to like Obligatory, you need to toss out her last race. She bobbled at the start of the Test Stakes and never got involved in the serious running. Now she is second off of a layoff, and before the break was running well.
After winning the 8Belles, she just missed against Search Results in the Acorn Stakes. A repeat of those two tries puts her in the mix at a nice price in this one.
Cotillion Stakes Best Bet
Clairiere is the most likely winner, but the prices on Always Carina and Obligatory are too juicy to pass up. Both have very reasonable shots and offer significant value. Because Always Carina will be in front, without a lot of pressure, she has the easiest path to victory.
The Pick: Always Carina (+600)
Other Graded Races at PARX Saturday
In addition to the two $1 million events, the $200,000 Grade 3 Greenwood Cup is a marathon for boys scheduled to begin at 3:20 pm ET, the $500,000 Grade 3 Turf Monster Stakes is a grass sprint that gets going at 3:51 pm, and the Grade 2 Gallant Bob Stakes is a $300,000 event for three-year-old boys sprinting on the main course which is slated for 4:22 pm.
Moretti has not won in more than a year but has been facing top competition. He is comfortable running long distances, and something similar to his effort in July’s Suburban Stakes may get the job done in this one.
Moretti should be near the front early on, but how close?
Sea Foam is untested at extreme distances but has great speed. A winner of two straight and four out of six, he will be on the lead but is both stretching out and tackling tougher horses than normal.
Math Wizard also may be going a bit further than he is used to, but is one-for-one at PARX, is second off a layoff, and can compete with this caliber of competition.
Turf Monster Stakes
This is a strong race with a lot of options but it is a girl, against the boys, who is the favorite. Bobby Flay’s Caravel has won seven of 10-lifetime races including a Grade 3 at Saratoga in July.
She tried boys last time out at Woodbine and finished third as the favorite.
Firecrow has run 14 times but only three are grass races. She hasn’t run since May but looked terrific beating a solid group on the sod at Pimlico on Preakness Day.
Firecrow is working really well and should be on the lead Saturday.
Carotari is coming off a strong second against top horses in August at Saratoga. She has six lifetime wins, and five are at the five-furlong distance that these horses will run at this weekend.
Gallant Bob Stakes
Jackie’s Warrior beat Life Is Good last time out in one of the best races of the year. The Allen Jerkens Stakes at Saratoga was a tight finish in a fast time with two ultra-tough competitors.
A winner of seven of 10 career tries, Jackie’s Warrior has never lost a one-turn race. He has two Grade 1 victories and three Grade 2 wins on his resume.
Beren has won four of his last five and trainer Robert Reid said he may try to rate in a race that seems to have a lot of early speed, particularly Jackie’s Warrior. Being within close range of Jackie, and being able to get the first run on him could be effective if he doesn’t have a lot left in the tank. However, Beren has tried graded stakes competition just once and finished fourth in a five-horse field in New York in April.
Like Beren, Real Talk is taking a serious step up in class. He has won two of three and was impressive blowing away a stakes field at Monmouth Park last time out. That said, this is his first graded stakes race.
Pick: Jackie’s Warrior