The Grade II, $500,000 Penn Mile is the highlight of a special 12-race program at Penn National on Saturday. The turf event for three-year-olds lured a field of nine. Post time for the Penn Mile, Race 11 on the card, is estimated for 7:50 p.m. ET.
#2 A THREAD OF BLUE (5-2, morning-line favorite) had a three-race win streak snapped in agonizing fashion by a surging Digital Age in the American Turf at Churchill Downs when last seen. The son of Hard Spun is now 4-for-8 lifetime with two stakes victories; hardly anything to be ashamed of. A THREAD OF BLUE earned some of the best speed figures in the field when he scored in the Dania Beach and Palm Beach Stakes at Gulfstream earlier this year. The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee will retain Luis Saez in the Penn Mile.
#5 FORTY UNDER (7-2) was ambitiously-campaigned as a juvenile, winning Belmont’s Pilgrim Stakes before running sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. He only recently made his three-year-old debut in April’s Woodhaven Stakes at Aqueduct, running second in a five-horse field. FORTY UNDER had won on a yielding course before, but based on the final time of that race, the turf may have been especially soft that day. He may have also just needed a tune-up race for the Penn Mile. Manny Franco sees fit to ship in for the call.
#4 REAL NEWS (5-1) showed prowess in turf sprints earlier this year, winning in his first go on the lawn despite a nightmarish trip before running second to division-leader Bulletin in the Palisades at Keeneland. In his most recent start, REAL NEWS stretched out to a mile in the Pimlico’s James Murphy Stakes, where he was a close second to English Bee. He would need to improve slightly to get the win in the Penn Mile, but he has a legitimate case for a share. Ty Kennedy takes over in the irons.
The play: $5 exacta 2/4,5 ($10)
Follow me on Twitter: @itsgood2beking