The centerpiece of Penn National’s season, the Grade II, 500,000 Penn Mile, takes place this Saturday. Ten sophomores (eight betting interests) will go one mile on the Grantville, PA grass course at approximately 7:45 p.m. EST. The Penn Mile is the ninth race on an 11-race program that begins at 3:45 p.m. EST. Several of the east coast’s best riders will be there, so be sure to study up if you’re playing FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!
#7 BIG SCORE (5-2, morning-line favorite) looms the likeliest winner in the Penn Mile under Javier Castellano. Horse and rider teamed up for a thrilling off-the-pace victory in the Transylvania two starts ago before settling for third in Churchill’s American Turf. The distance seems right up his alley as he won two starts at one mile last year. BIG SCORE shows a strong breeze at Santa Anita in preparation for this and has the fastest speed figures in the field.
#8 FROSTMOURNE (3-1) ran a lifetime-best speed figure off the bench in Aqueduct’s Woodhaven Stakes back in April but had to settle for second. With the rust shaken off, FROSTMOURNE should take a step forward today under Irad Ortiz Jr. The far outside post could hurt as FROSTMOURNE prefers to stalk the pace, but Ortiz should be able to work out as good a trip as possible.
#4 CISTRON (6-1) already has a win outside his home base of California, Oaklawn’s Northern Spur Stakes two starts ago. However, he’ll be looking for his first turf win outside the Golden State under new jockey Paco Lopez. He usually makes the front but was not disgraced after getting up for second behind Arms Runner in last month’s Desert Code Stakes after racing sixth early on. His versatility makes him a must-use at a good price.
The play: $2 exacta box 4/7/8, $2 exacta box 7/8 ($16)
DFJ analysis: Javier Castellano has the chance for a huge day at Penn National. He rides in eight races and not a single one of his mounts is above 5-2 in odds. BIG SCORE leads the way regarding Castellano’s stakes mounts, but Castellano also rides Madefromlucky in the Mountainview, Rainbow Heir in the Governor’s Cup, and Adorable Miss in the Penn Oaks, among others.
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