Pennsylvania Derby Betting Preview, Odds & Analysis
The 2019 Pennsylvania Derby is a step towards the Breeders’ Cup Classic for the sophomore division.
Grade 1, $1 million event attracted a strong field of seven 3-year-old colts but Maximum Security, considered by many as the horse to beat, was scratched due to colic on Monday.
The major contenders in the 1 1/8-mile race all have similar running styles, making this a tough race to handicap. They all like to press the early pace and then take control in the final furlongs. Race strategy will be crucial, and this is certainly a jock’s race.
Slated as Race 11 out of 12 on the card, post time is scheduled for 5:48 p.m. ET. The track will be fast.
Strong Contenders For The Pennsylvania Horse Race
Let’s meet the field and discover the pros and cons of each horse.
Pennsylvania Derby Betting Odds
|WAR OF WILL||+500|
|SPUN TO RUN||+800|
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IMPROBABLE (3-1) (+300)
- Pros: Trainer Bob Baffert has conditioned three of the last five Pennsylvania Derby winners, including the last two. “Money” Mike Smith has the mount. Improbable is a better horse than he showed in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. He won his first three starts by over a dozen lengths and was second in the Rebel (G2) and Arkansas Derby (G1). The large Chestnut colt used the Shared Belief Stakes as a prep for the Pennsylvania Derby.
- Cons: Improbable only wins against stakes competition when he has a clear lead in the stretch. Look him in the eye and he’ll fold like a bad poker hand.
- The Play: Improbable is capable of winning, but he sometimes gets hot-headed in the gate or during the early stages of the race. He’ll need to press or set the pace and get a clear lead in the stretch if he’s to have any shot. There are chinks in his armor, but you have to use him. Use on top and underneath.
WAR OF WILL (5-1) (+500)
- Pros: War of Will was brilliant earlier this year in the LeComte and Risen Star. He derailed in the Louisiana and Kentucky Derbies but captured the Preakness before finishing out of the money in two subsequent starts. He’s been freshened and has been breezing strongly.
- Cons: When War of Will is good, he’s very good, but when he’s bad, he’s awful. Which one will show up today?
- The Play: War of Will may be overlooked slightly in the betting, but is entirely capable of winning. Use on top and underneath.
Use on top and underneath.
MR. MONEY (4-1) (+400)
- Pros: Mr. Money puts his four-race win streak on the line. He’s been beating up on lesser competition but dominated by ample margins of 5 ¼, 6 ½, 2 ½, and 6 lengths.
- Cons: This is the toughest spot of Mr. Money’s career. He’s facing a Preakness hero and a tough Improbable, both of whom have similar pace pressing running styles.
- The Play: Hard to ignore that win streak, and the competition has weak spots. Use on top and underneath.
Use on top and underneath.
SPUN TO RUN (8-1) (+800)
- Pros: Spun To Run captured the Smarty Jones (G3), which is the local prep race for the Pennsylvania Derby. He has the home track advantage and the addition of blinkers has helped him step up his game. His sire Hard Spun gets later maturing offspring, and Spun To Run could be getting good at the right time.
- Cons: Spun To Run recorded a lifetime high-speed figure in the Smarty Jones just nineteen days ago. Can he run back to that figure or will he regress?
- The Play: Spun To Run’s late pace speed figures fit with this group, making him a live longshot. Upset chance to win, if you like him. Certainly, use underneath.
Horses We DON’T Recommend Betting On
Math Wizard and Shanghai Superfly are horses you have to think twice about betting on. They are in OK shape but extremely out of their element, competing against horses that clearly outclass them.
MATH WIZARD (8-1) (+800)
- Pros: Math Wizard placed second in the Ohio Derby and was third in the Indiana Derby behind Mr. Money.
- Cons: Math Wizard hasn’t won a race since January, and that was a $25,000 contest at Gulfstream Park from which he was claimed by his current connections. He’s 0-4 at 1 1/8-miles.
- The Play: Math Wizard is taking a huge step up, facing multiple graded stakes winners. His late-pace speed figure is among the lowest in the field. Toss.
SHANGHAI SUPERFLY (30-1) (+3,000)
- Pros: Shanghai Superfly hit the board in three of his eight-lifetime starts. The trainer/jockey combo of Marcos and Pennington wins at a 33% clip.
- Cons: This is the “why is he in here” horse. Shanghai Superfly may have hit the board in three starts, but he’s yet to find the winner’s circle. His last race was against maiden claimers, and he finished second, eight lengths behind the winner.
- The Play: Toss.
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