Penn National Race 7 - $100,000 CHOCOLATE TOWN STAKES
Penn National Race 8 - $100,000 SUSQUEHANNA STAKES
Penn National Race 9 - $100,000 PENNSLYVANIA GOVERNOR'S CUP STAKES
Penn National Race 10 - $200,000 PENN OAKS
Penn National Race 11 - $500,000 PENN NATIONAL MILE STAKES - GRADE II
Santa Anita Race 7 - $150,000 HONEYMOON STAKES - GRADE III
Santa Anita Race 8 - $200,000 SANTA MARIA STAKES - GRADE II
Woodbine Race 3 - $125,000 GREENWOOD STAKES
The two biggest races in the Keystone State are the PENN OAKS and PENN NATIONAL MILE STAKES.
Seven three-year-old fillies will race 1 mile on Penn Nationals turf course. REGAL GLORY (PP: 7) is the heavy pre-race favorite, booked at morning line odds of 6/5. She has four races on her resume with two seconds and two Ws. The daughter of ANIMAL KINGDOM has finished as the runner-up in her last two outings, the Grade II Appalachian Stakes and the Grade III Sweetest Chant Stakes.
Typically, REGAL GLORY comes out the box in position to rate or close, which could open the door to a horse that beats her out of the gate, which happened in her last two outings. Although there are no pure frontrunners in this field with 1s across their past performance lines, ALASAAYIL (PP: 5 ML 7/2) appears to have the quickest first steps. She's been first or second at the quarter pole in five of her seven races and no worse than third. ALASAAYIL could feel some pressure from IONIC (PP: 6 ML 3-1), but none of the rest of the field has shown a taste for the front.
Our handicapper believes all three will play major roles in the PENN OAKS.
"REGAL GLORY has run first (2x) or second (2x) in her four starts. IONIC is a nose away from being undefeated in her two starts. UJJAYA is also entered into the 4th race today and could scratch out. If not, she's a strong beaten favorite candidate. ALASAAYIL is making her third start off the bench and should be near top form."
PENN NATIONAL MILE STAKES is a better betting race as A THREAD OF BLUE (PP: 2) is a comfortable 72 degrees morning line favorite at 5/2. He'll take on eight other three-year-old in a 1-mile turf race. The race started in 2013 and hasn't had a jockey or trainer win more than once.
A win for the front running A THREAD OF BLUE would keep the new winning jockey and trainer streak alive as Luis Saez and Kiara McLaughlin haven't found the winners' circle in the previous six PENN NATIONAL MILE STAKES.
A THREAD OF BLUE won't be alone in the lead and will likely feel some heat from REAL NEWS (PP: 4 ML 5-1), EMPIRE OF WAR (PP: 7 ML 9/2) and FLUMINENSE (PP: 9 ML 10-1). If the quartet goes out too hot, stalkers and closers like MOON COLONY (PP: 1 ML 12-1), FORTY UNDER (PP: 5 ML 7/2) and THE BLACK ALBUM (PP: 6 ML 15-1) could squeeze their way to the wire first.
In our Pro Subscriber's bonus commentary, early speed is expected to hold sway.
"A THREAD OF BLUE hasn't missed the board on turf (6: 3-2-1). REAL NEWS has finished first (1x) or second (2x) since hitting the grass in his second start. FLUMINENSE popped his best speed figure in his first race following a seven-month layoff. THE BLACK ALBUM ran well in his last two despite troubles in his last."
It should be a fun Saturday of racing as the horse racing world hypes up for next weekend's Belmont Stakes.