Pennsylvania Derby Race Preview

Photo © Mathew Schwartz

The Pennsylvania Derby has been a staple in the horse racing calendar since it first started back in 1979. Parx Racing and Casino will welcome thousands of fans for this year’s event at the end of September. The race is open to three-year-old horses and is run over 9 furlongs.

Jockey Mike Smith has won the race for two consecutive years. Can he equal Joe Bravo’s record and win it for the third time? Esteemed trainer Bob Baffert is also hoping to break a record of his own. If Baffert trains the winning horse this time, he’ll have racked up four Pennsylvania Derby wins. That’s more than any other trainer in history.

Throughout this guide, we’ll analyze a few of the runners and offer our expert horse racing tips. We’re expecting this to go down to the wire with just 21 runners. Let’s kick things off by taking a closer look at the favorites.

The Favorites

Maximum Security – This 3-year-old colt has won four of his six races this year. Maximum Security beat Mucho Gusto at the Haskell Invitational in July. He also picked up his first Florida Derby win when he comfortably beat Bodexpress and Code Of Honor. This Jason Servis trained horse thought that he won the Kentucky Derby too, but was later disqualified by the judges. We’re backing him to run well again here.

Code Of Honor – According to the bookmakers, Code of Honor is Maximum Security’s biggest threat. He ran a fantastic race at the Kentucky Derby in May and finished second behind eventual winner Country House. This 3-year-old has claimed victories at Belmont Park and Saratoga since then. He’s one of the most impressive looking horses on the racecard. We’re expecting him to go close at the Pennsylvania Derby.

Improbable – Don’t be alarmed by this horse’s name. If Bob Baffert wants to break the record for most wins by a trainer, Improbable is his best chance. This horse crossed the line in first place when he ran at Del Mar in August. Before that, he finished 6th at the Preakness Stakes. He’ll need to be at his best to win here, but we believe he has the quality to get the job done.

Each-Way Wagers

Spinoff – If you’re looking for a high-odds runner, Spinoff is a great option. This Todd Pletcher trained horse has racked up three wins since making his debut in 2018. You’ll be glad to hear that two of those wins came earlier this year. Spinoff also ran in the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes, so he has plenty of experience at this level. When a horse of this caliber is priced so high, it’s difficult to resist.

Mr. Money – We’ve saved the best bet until last. Mr. Money has won his last four races. However, please be aware that these were at grade three level. He certainly looks like he can make the step up. If he gets a clear run on the day, we’re expecting him to challenge the favorites. The bookmakers are aware of his quality, so we’d recommend getting your bets on early.