The 2023 Pennsylvania Derby, to be run Saturday at Parx Racing, features a large group of contenders with one final chance to have a breakthrough victory in the 3-year-old division, while securing a path to the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita in November.
Many of the country’s top trainers will have runners in the starting gate at the Bensalem, Pennsylvania racetrack for the $1 million, Grade 1 event.
Heading the group is West Coast conditioner Bob Baffert, who won the race last year with Taiba, who went on to finish third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic before winning the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes.
Here are the post positions, along with morning line odds, for teh 2023 Pennsylvania Derby:
1. Modern Era 50-1
Trainer: Uriah St. Louis.
Jockey: Patrick Henry
Winless in eight career starts, comes off a third in a maiden special weight race at Monmouth Park.
2. Dreamlike 10-1
Trainer: Todd Pletcher.
Jockey: Irad Oritz Jr.
The Gun Runner colt, a $975,000 yearling purchase by Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable, ran third in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial as a maiden, before winning a maiden special weight at Saratoga and running fifth in a Saratoga allowance race on Aug. 13.
3. Saudi Crown 7/2
Trainer: Brad Cox.
Jockey: Florent Geroux.
Lightly-raced Always Dreaming colt has not run since getting beaten by a nose by a Forte in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy at Saratoga on July 29, after getting beaten a nose by Fort Bragg in the Grade 3 Dyer Stakes at Belmont Park. The 106 Beyer Speed Figure in the Dwyer is tops in the field.
4. Magic Tap 5-1
Trainer: Steve Asmussen.
Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione.
Lightly-raced Tapit colt makes a first appearance beyond the allowance ranks, coming off a win at Saratoga on Aug. 13. Asmussen is looking for his first Pa. Derby score.
5. Scotland 6-1
Trainer: Bill Mott.
Jockey: Junior Alvarado.
Comes in off a disappointing ninth place finish in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 26. A race earlier, however, Scotland was much the best in the Curling Stakes at Saratoga, besting Il Miracolo by 3 1/4 lengths.
6. Daydreaming Boy 12-1
Trainer: Louis Linder Jr.
Jockey: Dexter Haddock.
Stabled at Parx, the Goldencents colt comes off a third in the Grade 3 Smarty Jones on Aug. 22, coming from off the pace to finish 4 3/4 lengths behind Il Miracolo. Has four wins at Parx, but none beyond the allowance ranks.
7. West Coast Cowboy 12-1
Trainer: Saffie Joseph.
Jockey: Tyler Connor.
While the colt has not won beyond the allowance ranks, comes in off a runner-up finish in the Grade 3 West Virginia Derby on Aug. 6, beaten three lengths by Red Route One after battling One In Vermillion on the front end.
8. Gilmore 10-1
Trainer: Brendan Walsh.
Jockey: John Velazquez.
The Twirling Candy colt looks for a first stakes win in the eighth start of the year, coming off a win in an allowance race at Saratoga on Aug. 30. Ran third behind Arabian Lion in the Grade 1 Woody Stephens at Belmont Park on June 10, earning a 104 Beyer Speed Figure.
9. Crupi 15-1
Trainer: Todd Pletcher.
After struggling against top competition on the Kentucky Derby trail, including ninth in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial and seventh in the Grade 2 Risen Star, the Curlin colt got three months off before returning with a maiden special weight win at Monmouth and al allowance win at Saratoga.
10. Il Miracolo 8-1
Trainer: Antonio Sano.
Comes off an impressive three-length win in the $300,000 Grade 3 Smarty Jones at Parx on Aug. 22. Had been on the Kentucky Derby trail in Florida, before finishing seventh in the Belmont Stakes and second in the Curlin at Saratoga.
11. Reincarnate 3-1
Trainer: Bob Baffert.
Jockey: Juan Hernandez.
Comes off a wire-to-wire victory in the Los Alamitos Derby on July 8, after running 13th in the Kentucky Derby. Must overcome an 11-week layoff, although the colt has trained well at Del Mar and Santa Anita. And the outside post hurts, just as it did Baffert's Arabian Knight in the Haskell.
This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: PA Derby 2023 at Parx Racing: Post positions, odds and analysis