Hot Rod Charlie Looks Tough in Pennsylvania Derby

Pennsylvania Derby

A field of eight line up in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (G1) on Saturday. (Photo credit: Parx Racing).

(Updated) With the scratch of Medina Spirit and Keepmeinmind a field of eight will line up in Saturday’s $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (G1) at Parx Racing.

The Bob Baffert trained Medina Spirit would have been the 2-1 morning line favorite but the trainer said he was not happy with the post position and is staying home in Southern California. Baffert is also scratching Private Mission from the $1 million Cotillion (G1).

We won’t miss you Bob.

Also scratching is my original top pick Keepmeinmind, who was fourth in the Travers (G1) in his last outing. His trainer Robertino Diodoro said on Friday morning that an abscess was discovered in his left front foot and he will scratch from the race.

The Doug O’Neill trained Hot Rod Charlie will inherit the role of the favorite for the Pennsylvania Derby. The colt was disqualified from first and placed seventh in the Haskell Invitational (G1) at Monmouth Park in his last outing. The runner up in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at 94-1, he showed that was no fluke with a third in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and a runner up finish in the Belmont Stakes (G1).

2021 Haskell Invitational Replay

His main foe is Midnight Bourbon, who clipped heels due to the interference and dumped his rider in deep stretch in the Haskell. He rebounded with a game neck loss in the Travers (G1).

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Parx Racing features eight stakes on Saturday’s card including five stakes. I have been a vocal critic of the track for a larcenous takeout rate. They did lower the takeout on trifectas from a ridiculous 30% to 25%.

The takeout on WPS is 17%, exactas and doubles are 20% and the Pick 3 and Pick 4 bets are too high at 25%.

Let’s head out to Parx Racing for Saturday’s featured race of the day:

Pennsylvania Derby

Parx Racing Race 12 The Pennsylvania Derby G1 5:49 ET

7 Hot Rod Charlie   5-2

8 Midnight Bourbon   5-1

4 Weyburn   12-1

3 Speaker’s Corner   12-1


Hot Rod Charlie

With the scratch of Medina Spirit this colt will inherit the role of the favorite and likely lighter than his 5-2 morning line. Last out he crossed the wire a nose in front in the Haskell Invitational (G1) at Monmouth Park but was DQ’d for drifting in and causing Midnight Bourbon to clip heels and go down. The O’Neill trainee was a solid second behind Essential Quality in the Belmont Stakes (G1) and beaten just a length when third in the Kentucky Derby (G1). He owns a solid pace profile throughout and will be right in the mix early. The legit one to beat but his price is likely going to end up on the light side.

Midnight Bourbon

The Asmussen trainee bounced back from the Haskell with a game effort in the Travers. He set the early fractions over the speed friendly racing strip and battled on gamely to miss by just a head at nearly 6-1. He was five lengths clear of the rest of the field in the effort. His last out Beyer was 11 points higher than his previous high which came in his runner up finish in the Preakness (G1) and matched the figs he earned in both the Louisiana Derby (G2) and Risen Star (G2). The colt fires every time out and is going to be tough if he runs back to his last effort The colt will be in the mix early with Santana aboard. He is likely going to be the second choice and closer to 3-1 with Medina Spirit out.


This colt prompted the early pace in the Jim Dandy and weakened to finish fourth, beaten 6 ¾ lengths by the winner Essential Quality. The Jerkens trainee was beaten just a neck in the Pegasus two back at Monmouth Park. The winner of the race was Mandaloun, who came back to win the Haskell thanks to the DQ of Hot Rod Charlie. Weyburn’s last win came in the Gotham (G3) back in March which was his first start against winners. He is going to be in the mix early and looks capable of more than we saw out of his in his last outing.


WIN: Hot Rod Charlie to win at 8-5 or better.

EXACTA: 7 / 3,4,8 and 7,8 / 4,7,8.




NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll

No. Horse Points
1 Flightline 351
2 Life Is Good 306
3 Olympiad 292
4 Jackie's Warrior 282
5 Clairiere 142
5 Country Grammer 142
7 Epicenter 121
8 Regal Glory 89
9 Nest 87
10 Hot Rod Charlie 48
As of August 1, 2022

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