TimeformUS Weekend Plays: The Pennsylvania Derby and The Gallant Bloom

Saturday, Parx, Race 11, Scheduled Local Post Time 5:45 pm ET
The G2 Pennsylvania Derby, 1 and 1/8 Miles, Dirt, 3-year-olds

By Douglas Salvatore

Do your best Dr. Evil impersonation because one million dollars is on the line in the Pennsylvania Derby at slots-fueled Parx.

The 2/1 morning line favorite, Will Take Charge, and the 5/2 morning line second choice, Moreno, were separated by only a nose at the finish in the Travers. They were also the second-place and third-place finishers behind Palace Malice in the Jim Dandy, and they probably would have been second and third in the Travers had Palace Malice not stumbled at the start and inexplicably tried to revert to closing-wide tactics. 

Get Free TimeformUS PPs for the Pennsylvania Derby | Full Parx PPs

It's hard not to respect the chances of those two horses, but since they're on just four weeks' rest, we're going to play against them at short prices today.

The two horses who offer the best value are Transparent and Fury Kapcori, both of whom are a generous 8/1 on the morning line.

Transparent was assigned a speed figure of 111 two starts back and 110 three starts back. However, he simply didn't fire at all in the Travers Stakes. It's worth nothing that Transparent gets first-time lasix today, and his trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin, has a trainer rating of 100 with horses receiving first-time lasix. McLaughlin also has an outstanding 98 trainer rating with horses making their third start off of a layoff.

Transparent PPs

Fury Kapcori was assigned a spectacular 109 speed figure in the final start of his two-year-old season, when he finished a brave second to the Todd Pletcher-trained Violence in the Grade 1 Cash Call Futurity. That was an especially outstanding performance because he survived a very hot and contested early pace and defeated pace rival Oxbow, who faded to fourth.

Fury Kapcori

Fury Kapcori has yet to find that type of form in his two starts as a three-year-old, but the first came at just six furlongs and off of a 229-day layoff. He was assigned a 105 speed figure at Del Mar in his most recent start. This son of two-time Breeders' Cup Classic winner Tiznow, out of a Go For Gin mare, certainly has the pedigree to handle the stretch-out to nine furlongs. He merits strong consideration in this his third start off of a layoff. Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has an excellent 95 trainer rating with horses switching from synthetic to dirt.

Betting Strategy: Exacta Box of Transparent and Fury Kapcori.

Saturday, Belmont, Race 9, Scheduled Local Post Time 5:17pm ET
The G2 Gallant Bloom, 6.5 Furlongs, Dirt, FIllies and Mares, 3-and-up

By Douglas Salvatore

The 2/1 morning line favorite is the red-hot Dance To Bristol, an admirably consistent four-year-old filly who has won seven races in a row. Dance To Bristol has also finished first or second in each of her last twelve starts. Her main opposition comes from a pair of brilliant four-year-old fillies who both have wildcard looks and enter this race off of long layoffs.

Get Free TimeformUS PPs for the Gallant Bloom | Full Belmont PPs

It's hard not to have a great deal of respect for Dance to Bristol. However, today is the day when you must look to oppose her. Dance to Bristol has never run a speed figure faster than 105, and now she's drawn on the far outside and is conceding between four and eight pounds of weight to her rivals.

The toughest decision in this race is not whether you should oppose Dance to Bristol. Rather, it is whom you oppose her with. The undefeated Cluster of Stars is the speed of the speed and draws a rail post position on a track that has been pretty inside-speed friendly so far this meet. Cluster of Stars ran a dazzling 123 speed figure two starts back, and a repeat of that performance will certainly be good enough to win. However, the 161-day layoff is a genuine concern, especially because trainer Steve Asmussen has a much better trainer rating overall than he does with layoffs.

Cluster of Stars

The brilliant filly Dance Card is another who has an obvious wildcard look. She's won four straight races, including a Grade 1 in her most recent start: when she captured the Gazelle despite drifting out badly through the stretch. In her seven and a half length stakes victory two starts back, she ran a 113 speed figure despite drifting out extremely wide through the stretch. Since then, she has had chips removed from her ankle. There is no telling how she performs now in her first start off of a 301-day layoff.

Dance Card

Holiday Soiree is the other logical contender. She's less of a wildcard, but doesn't have the dynamic level of talent of a sound Cluster of Stars or a sound Dance Card.  Holiday Soiree made her first start for the Todd Pletcher barn last time out, and responded with a dominant victory at 2/1 odds in the Shine Again. She was assigned a 106 speed figure, a number that makes her very competitive with Dance To Bristol.

Betting Strategy: Exacta Box of Cluster of Stars, Dance Card, and Holiday Soiree.


Leave a Comment:

Pedigree Ann

I thought last winter that Fury Kapcori could become one of the better distance 3yos. Unfortunately it was not to be. Now is third off the layoff and is clearly rounding into shape for a longer race; his full sister Tizfiz won stakes races at longer than a mile. And he was won on real dirt.

20 Sep 2013 1:16 PM

Why no suggestions as to wagering?

20 Sep 2013 1:21 PM
Rusty Weisner

I wouldn't say Palace Malice "inexplicably tried to revert to closing-wide tactics." Maybe his jockey did, though I thought the ride was pretty explicable after the stumble.

20 Sep 2013 2:01 PM
Rusty Weisner

There may rain tomorrow in Philadelphia.  There's supposed to be a ton south of there -- there's a very good Laurel card tomorrow I wanted to play but all the turf races could be washed off.

20 Sep 2013 2:05 PM

Romansh should be more than a live outsider in the PA Derby. Why?  He is the most likely to improve several lengths off his Travers effort. When Romansh contested the Travers it was the 5th start of his career. At the furlong pole he was no more than a one to two lengths off the Derby winner Orb, Belmont/Jim Dandy winner Palace Malice and Jim Dandy runner up WTC. How many starts did the  horses below take into the Travers?

Will Take Charge – 11

Moreno – 12

Orb – 10

Palace Malice – 9

War Dancer - 6

Verrazano – 7

Golden Soul – 8

Transparent - 9

As Previously cited Romansh entered the 10F Travers with only 4 starts and badly lacking in foundation. There was another colt that faced a similar situation heading into the Kentucky Derby. Verrazano entered the starting gates of the Derby with only 4 starts. He finished a floundering 14th as compared to Romansh's 5th place is his attempt.    

In the Travers Verrazano and Ramansh with synchronized strides chased Moreno down the back stretch to the top of the straight. Verrazano backed out and Romansh battle on to finish 4L 5th.

With such little foundation for 10F, Romansh finished 5L behind three horses that combined for 7 graded victories.

With the distance now cut back to 9F and his handicap reduce by 9lbs he must have a great chance to turn the tables WTC and Moreno.

At a ML of 8-1, he should leave the gates at more like 12-1. Does anyone recall that Bernardini won the Preakness at 12-1.

I remain puzzled as to why Romansh’s trainer has fitted him with blinkers. His only victory was achieved without them. He has not been very resolute in the last furlong on his races since they have been fitted. A horse wins impressively without blinkers and they are affixed for his next two starts and he weakens. Wouldn’t be wise to remove them?

20 Sep 2013 5:06 PM


With the distance now cut back to 9F and his handicap reduce by (7lbs) he must have a great chance to turn the tables WTC and Moreno. -

20 Sep 2013 6:02 PM

Stick with the Smarty Jones home boy in the Gallant Bloom. He knows every inch of the course.

Take the Street Hero filly Street Girl to make the Tri & Super sweet in the Cotillion. Her dam sire Kris S was also the Dam sire of Breeder Cup winners Zenyatta and War Chant.

Her 9 wide move and closing rush  to get within 1 1/2L of Dance To Bristol in the Ballerina make her a worthy candidate to crack the top four.

20 Sep 2013 6:16 PM

Correction to previous post:

Stick with the Smarty Jones home boy in the Gallant Bob. He knows every inch of the course.

Take the Street Hero filly Street Girl to make the Tri & Super sweet in the Cotillion. Her dam sire Kris S was also the Dam sire of Breeder Cup winners Zenyatta and War Chant.

Her 9 wide move and closing rush  to get within 1 1/2L of Dance To Bristol in the Ballerina make her a worthy candidate to crack the top four.

20 Sep 2013 6:25 PM

With Transparent and Romansh coupled the betting public gets an appealing two for the price of one. Under normal circumstance I would have preferred Transparent over Romansh based on his PPs and favorable handicap. He will leave the gates in the PA Derby with 117lbs as compared to the 126lbs he carried in the Travers. His effort in the Curlin suggests he is competitive at 9F. However, Transparent is simply too inconsistent and does not inspire confidence.

As a 2YO Transparent finished 4 1/4L behind eventually Derby winner Orb. In the same race he was 2 1/4L behind Peter Pan winner Freedom Child and a HD separated him and Revolutionary for 4th.  All three horses that finished ahead of him in that race subsequently record graded victories with two recording multiple graded victories. Transparent is yet to score a graded victory and continues to flatter to deceive. His best finish in a graded race was in the Gotham where he finished 6th beaten 5L.

Transparent has recorded 2 wins from 10 starts. His most impressive came in an 8F Allowance where he won by 10L in the smart time of 1:35 3/5. The fractions of the race were 23, 45, and 1:09. He was subsequently off the scene for 15 weeks. He returned in the 9F Curlin and won handily in a good time of 1:49 2/5.

One would have thought that with consecutive wins this was the new Transparent who had finally decided to deliver on the promise he showed as a 2YO. His entry into the Travers would be the litmus test. He finished a floundering last beaten 15L. The old Transparent has returned.  

He will run with Lasix for the 1st time in the PA Derby. The popular diuretic commonly call ‘The Juice’ is known to significantly improve the performance of horses. However, some perform at their best the 2nd time on the drug.

As previously stated, Transparent has recorded times of 1:35 2/5 for 8F and 1:49 2/5 for 9F without Lasix. It is therefore within the realm of possibility that he could record a time of 1:47 plus for 9F with drug administered. This time would be competitive enough to win the PA Derby. Could Lasix be the solution to his inconsistencies? Yet another litmus test is pending.

My choice in the PA Derby is Romansh. The fact that he and Transparent are coupled will allow my wager to include at no additional cost, a second runner with a favorable handicap and whose true potential is likely to be revealed with the addition of Lasix.

What a deal!

21 Sep 2013 12:19 AM

Holiday Soiree ended her 3YO season in October 2012. She returned to the races on April 20, 2013 in the Sugar Maple at Charles Town. She demolished by Dance To Bristol. Fourteen days later she contested the Humanna Distaff a Churchill and finished 3rd. Twenty three days later she contested the Red Cross at Monmouth Park.

She contested 3 races in in a brutal 41 days. She was given 40 days off and returned in the G1 Princess Rooney where she finished 4th. Subsequent to the Princess Rooney she was sold and transfer to Todd Pletcher. In her first under her new trainer she clocked 1:08.80. That time was 2 to 3 seconds faster than she has ever run fir the distance.

With Dance Card and Cluster of Start returning from lengthy layoffs, Holiday Soiree has to be the horse to beat.

21 Sep 2013 11:04 AM
Mary Zinke

Still waiting for the reveal.

22 Sep 2013 12:49 AM

Transparent was in receipt of an absolutely horrible ride.

His rider did a very poor job down the back stretch. On two occasions he checked the colt behind the tiring Speak Logistics. He was right along side WTC and while the rider on WTC chose to take the shortest rout by swinging inside, he ride on Transparent piloted him 5 wide.  

He was blocked again in the straight but finished resolutely for 4th.

Could he have beaten WTC? I think yes. He was only beaten 4L and the issues had must have cost him more than 4L.

Romansh yet again faded in the stretch and it appears there was not improvement off his Travers effort.

I would love to see the blinkers removed. He scored his only victory impressively without them. Has his trainer not learnt anything from the removal of the blinkers from Will Take Charge?

How can a professional trainer be so inept?

23 Sep 2013 10:48 AM

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