The Grade III Penn Mile is the Saturday evening feature at Penn National, and it’s worth $500,000 to a field of seven classy three-year-olds. With an estimated post time of 7:40 p.m. EST, it’ll go as Race 4 on the card, which culminates an all-stakes Pick Four.
The biggest star in the field is also the only filly; #4 CATCH A GLIMPSE (2-1, morning-line favorite). She’s won her last six races, five of them graded stakes, but she’ll be racing against the boys for the first time ever. Florent Geroux and Mark Casse are about as good a jockey/trainer combination as you’ll find for a turf horse, but I have my doubts about the quality of the fields she’s faced, and her speed figures don’t justify her potential post-time odds.
That’s why my pick will be #3 BEACH PATROL (3-1). He gets a rider upgrade to Joel Rosario, who won this race in 2015 aboard Force The Pass and has been red-hot early at the Belmont meet. I also like what BEACH PATROL’s done in his last three starts, winning with authority in two straight at Santa Anita before finishing a game second in the Grade II American Turf at Churchill Downs on Derby day. It’s worth noting the third-place finisher of that race (Surgical Strike) has already come back to win. Finally, BEACH PATROL gets a trainer upgrade to Chad Brown, arguably the best turf conditioner in the country at the moment.
Looking at the potential underneath horses, #2 AIROFORCE (7-2), also trained by Casse, will not be ridden by regular jockey Julien Leparoux, but by Trevor McCarthy instead. McCarthy knows this circuit well, but Leparoux’s absence is not a confidence booster. He’d have to make up over two lengths on BEACH PATROL to win based on their American Turf efforts. However, AIROFORCE’s turf speed figures are competitive enough to justify leaving him in the discussion for a small share.
#6 GIANT RUN (6-1) will likely be setting the pace, and he gets reunited with Joe Bravo after they teamed up for a win in a minor stakes at Gulfstream two starts ago. The horse he beat that day (Highland Sky) is well thought of after romping in a stakes at Aqueduct, and is being pointed to the $1.25 million Belmont Derby. I don’t think GIANT RUN can fend off CATCH A GLIMPSE early then BEACH PATROL late, but he could hang around for a piece at good odds.
The play: $8 exacta 3/4, $4 exacta 3/2,6, $4 exacta 4/3 ($20)
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