The Grade II, $500,000 Penn Mile will be renewed for the sixth time at Penn National racecourse on Saturday. The one-mile grass event for three-year-olds drew a highly-qualified field of eight. The Penn Mile goes as Race 9 on an 11-race program; post time is 7:45 p.m. EST. Several noteworthy jockeys will make the trip, so study this race carefully if playing FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!
#4 THERAPIST (3-1) has started his career 4-for-5, with his lone loss coming to MARAUD in the Palm Beach at Gulfstream Park two starts ago. However, THERAPIST may have been compromised as he picked up a 1/16th in his first start off a layoff. He turned back nicely in his next start, taking Gulfstream’s Cutler Bay Stakes. Rested since then, he’ll retain the services of Irad Ortiz Jr. for trainer Christophe Clement, who teamed up to take last year’s Penn Mile with Frostmourne.
#3 MARAUD (5-2, morning-line favorite) is the main danger having won three of four to start the year. His Transylvania flop two-back is largely a mystery but he rebounded smartly in a salty renewal of the American Turf. It remains to be seen if MARAUD has much more to give, whereas THERAPIST is eligible to improve third time off the bench at three. MARAUD also loses a 1/16th of ground, which could hinder him. Nevertheless, he is logical contender in the Penn Mile. John Velazquez rides Todd Pletcher’s top entry, as usual.
#1 COLTANDMISSISSIPPI (8-1), the second of the Pletcher pair, was flying late in Aqueduct’s six-furlong Bridgetown, his turf debut. He’s handled seven panels on dirt before, so a turf mile would seem to suit him. Joel Rosario picks up the assignment.
#6 HAWKISH (5-1) was no match for THERAPIST and MARAUD in the Palm Beach two-back but he may have bit off more than he could chew there in just his second lifetime start. He was a convincing winner in a one-mile allowance at Belmont to prep for this but was not Ortiz’s choice. Manny Franco has the call.
The play: $5 exacta box 3/4 ($10)
DFJ analysis: Irad Ortiz Jr. has six assignments on Saturday, led by THERAPIST in the Penn Mile. That race could cap off a Pick Three sweep for Ortiz; Thewayiam (2-1 favorite in the Penn Oaks) and Pure Sensation (2-1 favorite in the Governor’s Cup) precede the Penn Mile.
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