HRR

Shawn Covers the PENN MILE and PENN OAKS

Horse Racing Radar
Shawn Drupp
Shawn Drupp is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Friday, May 28, 2021

The Grade 2 Penn Mile Stakes and the Penn Oaks races both return this Friday 5/28/21 after not taking place last year due to Covid-19.  The Penn Mile purse had been $500k since the race debuted in 2013.  This year it will be down to $300k. The Penn Oaks purse will be cut in a half as it was $200,000 in 2019 it will now be for $100k. Both races will be at a one mile distance on the turf. Typically these races take place on a Saturday.  This year it will be on a Friday as Penn National is not currently running on Saturdays.


These races always attract out of town jockeys and horses. In the 7 year history of the Penn Mile an out of town jockey has won every race. No jockey has won the race more then once. There have been 6 different trainers to win the race with Mark Casse being the only one who won the race twice. Casse won the last Penn Mile in 2019 with Moon Colony and in 2016 with Catch a Glimpse.

In the 7 year history of the Penn Mile the average winner pays just under $10. The favorite has won the race 3 times. The last Penn Mile in 2019 was the biggest price for the winner as Moon Colony paid $21.60 to win. The average field size is 8 horses. This year there are 7 horses scheduled to take to the post.

Let's look at this year's field for the Penn Mile which will be at the mile distance over the turf and is for 3 year olds with a purse of $300k. It will be Race #4 on Penn National's Friday card and post time is set for 7:46 pm eastern time. Again, it will be all out of town jockeys in the race. Let's look at the field in order of ML favoritism.

#7 Outadore ML favorite 8/5 is trained by Wesley Ward and will be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr likes to be on the pace or right off. He will be making his return to turf after a win in the Animal Kingdom Stakes at Turfway.  Irad was on this horse for his first 2 races of his career which he won on the turf. After those 2 races and before getting off the turf finished a good 3rd in the Grade 1 Breeder's cup Juvenile Turf finishing behind Fire at Will and Battleground.  Will be scratched and will now run in The Paradise Creek at Belmont.

#3 Annex ML 9/5 is trained by Bill Mott and will be ridden by Junior Alvarado likes to close from the back. He won his first 3 career starts all at Gulfstream on the turf and was ridden by Alvarado. His last start came at Churchill on Kentucky Derby day in the Grade 2 American Turf and was ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. in that race he didn't fire at all and finished 8th. There does seem to be a lot of pace in here which will help him.

#4 Chess's Dream ML is 5-1 is trained by Michael Maker and will be ridden by Kendrick Carcmouche will be another one trying to pick up the pieces late. After he won his first race of 2021 in his first start of the year has not been in great form since. His last race also came on Kentucky Derby day in the Grade 2 American Turf and he finished 7th.   Three starts ago finished 3rd behind the winner of that race #3 Annex. This will be the first time Kendrick Carmouche is aboard.

#2 Original ML 8-1 is trained by John P. Terranova II and will be ridden by John Velazquez likes to be out front from the beginning.  In 3 career turf races has had the lead in every single on of them in the beginning of the race. He won his debut on turf and then finished 3rd in his last 2 turf starts.

#6 Sibelius ML 10-1 is trained by Jeremiah O'Dwyer and will be ridden by Sheldon Russell is another one who likes to be close to the front. This will be his career debut on the turf after just breaking his maiden in his 2nd career start at Keeneland.

#1 Gershwin ML 12-1 is trained by Michael Stidham and will be ridden by Joe Bravo likes to be close to the pace. Will be another one making his turf debut. He has won 1 of 4 career races.

#5 The King Cheek is trained by Jamie Ness and will be ridden by Jamie Rodriguez is another that likes to be out front or close to the pace. He will also be making his career debut on turf after running 9 races on the dirt.

I'm going to narrow this Penn Mile field down to 2 horses I would use. Typically the turf course does play fair going long but speed does well at Penn on the turf. However, there is a lot of speed in this race so I do find #3 Annex very intriguing here. My longshot horse I would use would be the #6 Sibelius making his turf debut. He has only run 2 races but has the highest Beyer in the field with his last race at 88.  Has a lot of speed but also in his debut started 4th and ended up finishing 2nd so can sit off the speed as well.


Let's look at the Penn Oaks which will take place the race before the Penn Mile.  It will be run at the mile distance over the turf and is for 3 year old fillies with a purse of $100k. It will be Race #3 on Penn National's Friday's card and post time is set for 7:02 eastern time. There are only 2 local jockeys with mounts in this race. Both Julio A. Hernandez and Vladimir Diaz will try to defend their home turf. Let's break the field down by ML favoritism.

#4 Honeypants ML favorite 7/5 is trained by Christopher Clement and will be ridden by John Velazquez likes to be close to the pace. Only has won 1 career race at of 6 tries. Does have 3 seconds as well and has been running against some tough company.

#6 Amalfi Princess ML is 2-1 is trained by Michael Maker and will be ridden by Kendrick Carmouche likes to come from the back on the turf. On the dirt was showing speed and sitting real close to the pace. I would expect her to be on the pace or close as she is stretching out in distance.

#2 Midnight Obsession ML is 4-1 is trained by John Servis and will be ridden by Joe Bravo likes to be close to the pace. She is the least experienced runner in the field only running in 2 races but she has the most wins as well because she won both those races. They were both on the dirt so this will be her turf debut. Those 2 races were run on a good and sloppy track. Horses that take to a sloppy track sometimes take to the turf just as well. Will be scratched in this race and will  run in race 1 at Penn on Friday

#3 Do You Love Me ML is 8-1 is trained by Michael Tombetta and will be ridden by Juiian Pimental likes to sit about mid pack. She will be making her turf debut as she has only run on synthetic so far.

#7 Marlborough Road ML is 12-1 is trained by Kent Sweezey and will be ridden by Julio A. Hernandez likes to come from about mid pack.

#1 Orbs Baby Girl ML is 15-1 is trained by Anthony Margotta Jr. and will be ridden by Junior Alvarado likes to be close to the pace or on it which was the case for her lone victory. Only ran turf once which was in her last race and she finished last.

#5 Tic Tic Tic Boom ML is 15-1 is trained by Alan Bedard and will be ridden by Vladimir Diaz likes to close from the back. She is the only horse in the field that is still a maiden. Looks to be outclassed only has 3 shows in 7 career starts.

I could  see the #6 Amalfi Princess who is stretching out from shorter races getting the lead here with Carmouche aboard and wire the field. The favorite #4 Honey Pants I would use in the exotics as she tends to like to finish second. Six career starts and only one win with three seconds.

Penn National has a great 11 race card Friday night that gets underway at 6 pm eastern with an all turf stakes pick 4 races 1-4. Keep an eye on the weather as rain is in the forecast for most of the day on Friday in Grantville, PA. It won't be bad temperature wise as it will be between 55- 60 degrees Fahrenheit during race time.  There will be a lot of big names and great horses in town. Get out and support if you can.

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