West Coast Seeks to Keep Winning Streak Alive in Pennsylvania Derby

A field of 10 line up in Saturday’s $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (photo credit: Parx Racing)

The Bob Baffert trained West Coast invades from the west coast and looks for his fifth victory in a row as the 8-5 morning line favorite for Saturday’s $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (G1).

The colt has won four in a row, winning the Travers (G1) at Saratoga in his last outing in gate to wiee fashion, earning the top Beyer Speed Figure (108) produced by a three-year-old this year in a route race.

Baffert won this race in 2014 with Bayern, who went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).

Trainer Chad Brown looks for back to back wins in this race, saddling Timeline (5-1), who is coming off his first career loss in a fifth-place finish in the Haskell Invitational (G1) at Monmouth Park.

Brown saddled last year’s winner Connect, who had run sixth in the Travers in his previous outing. The colt paid $23.20 in an upset in last year’s running with Javier Castellano in the irons.

Castellano is the only jockey who has ridden Timeline, who won the Peter Pan (G3) and Pegasus (G3) before his loss in his last start.

The co-features on an outstanding card at Parx Racing are the $1 million Cotillion (G1) and the $300,000 Gallant Bob (G3).

I will have selections for the graded stakes in Saturday’s Best Plays Report.

Just a friendly reminder that Parx Racing has the second highest takeout rate for trifectas at a larcenous 30%. That number is outrageous for a track that has it purses fueled by slots. I may play a few win and exacta bets at Parx, but will not be jumping in the trifecta or superfecta pools and I urge you not do so either.

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


Parx Racing Race 11 the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) Post time 5:45 ET

1 Timeline   5-1

4 West Coast   8-5

8 Irish War Cry   9-2

5 Irap   3-1

Timeline is sent out by the Chad Brown barn and this guy won his first four career starts before a troubled trip in a fifth-place finish in the Haskell Invitational (G1) last out. The colt was off a step slow, was bumped, then had to steady when caught in tight along the inside going into the first turn. He worked his way through to press the pace while in between foes and tired in the stretch. The third-place finisher Practical Joke came back to win the H.A. Jerkens (G1) in his next start and sixth place finisher Battle of Midway came back to win the Shared Belief at Del Mar on Aug. 26.

Our top pick won the Peter Pan (G3) three back in the slop in his first start at nine furlongs and then won the Pegasus (G3) over the main track at Monmouth Park in gate to wire fashion. He has worked sharply since his last start and now draws the rail and looking for him to bounce back with a better effort here if he gets off more cleanly.

West Coast has reeled off four in a row, taking the Los Al Derby (G3) two back coming from off the pace and last out wiring the field in the Travers (G1) at the Spa earning a career top speed fig, a 108 Beyer which is the best number to date by a three-year-old going a route of ground in 2017.  There is some pace in here and Mike Smith has the option of sending him again or he can sit off the pace.

Baffert won this race in 2014 with Bayern who went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). He looks tough and has not missed landing in the exacta in his seven career starts but his price is going to be on the light side.

Irish War Cry exits the Haskell where he prompted the early pace and weakened to finish fourth in a disappointing effort. He was the pacesetter in the Belmont (G1) but could not hold off Tapwrit late, settling for the runner up spot. He earned triple digit Beyers winning the Holy Bull (G2) in February and his Wood Memorial (G2) win in April.

Motion should have this guy back on his game off works at Fair Hill and he might end up getting overlooked on the tote in this spot.


WIN: Timeline to win at 7-2 or better.

EXACTA: 1,4 / 1,4,5,8 / 1,2,4,5,8

TRIFECTA: no play due to outrageous 30% takeout rate.


Road to the Breeders’ Cup Package

Get Michael’s Best Plays Report each Saturday which will include all of the U.S. based Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” races from now to October and Michael Dempsey’s 2-Day Breeders’ Cup Report.

Michael’s two-day Breeders’ Cup Report includes his selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for every race on the two-day championship event from Del Mar on Nov. 3-4.


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