Four Major Stakes on Labor Day Card at ParxParx Racing’s September Spectacular of Racing kicks off on Labor Day with four of the track’s major stakes and over $1 million in purses. All featured on the Monday holiday card are the $300,000 Grade 3 Smarty Jones Stakes, the $300,000 Grade 3 Turf Monster Handicap, the $200,000 Grade 3 Greenwood Cup and the $200,000 Turf Amazon Handicap. At one mile and seventy yards, the Smarty Jones Stakes features some of the nation’s top three year-olds and serves as a prep for the $1 million G2 Pennsylvania Derby run here Saturday, September 20th. The Turf Monster is the track’s top turf sprint of the year contested at five furlongs on the grass. The Greenwood Cup is the track’s top long distance race run at a mile and a half on the main track and the Turf Amazon will be contested by some the best female turf sprinters in the country.
The track will have a special giveaway item on Labor Day, a commemorative Smarty Jones cooler bag as the track honors and celebrates the 10th anniversary of the 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness champion. Fans should note that the doors will open at 10AM with post time scheduled for 12:25PM. Fans can also enjoy live music and free Family Fun in the picnic grove. The band Kat and the Mad Dogz will perform their brand of Country Rock while kids can enjoy free pony rides, moon bounces, face painting and more all afternoon.
Heading the ten horse field for the $300K Smarty Jones Stakes are Brereton Jones’ Albano and Protonico, racing for International Equities Holding, Inc. Albano is coming off a terrific second in the G1 Haskell Invitational finishing only behind runaway winner, Bayern. The Istan colt previously won the G3 Pegasus at Monmouth Park and back in the spring lost by only a nose to Intense Holiday in the G2 Risen Star at the Fair Grounds. Kerwin Clark is set to ride for Larry Jones. Protonico will make just his fifth career start Monday for Todd Pletcher, losing by just a head to eventual Travers winner V.E. Day in his most recent start July 25th in the Curlin Stakes at Saratoga. Joe Bravo has been named to ride.
As it has in the past, the Turf Monster promises to be one of the year’s best at Parx. The incomparable Ben’s Cat, the 2011 and 2012 winner of this event, will look to avenge last year’s upset at the hands of Stormofthecentury. The 8 year-old gelded son of Parker’s Storm Cat has won an incredible 27 of 41 career starts for The Jim Stable and trainer King Leatherbury and has amassed over $2.1 million in earnings. In addition to his two wins in the Monster, Ben’s Cat has also won the track’s other top turf sprint, the Parx Dash, three times. Regular rider Julian Pimentel will be in the saddle. Mr. Amore Stable’s Tightend Touchdown looks to win his first Turf Monster. He’s beaten Ben’s Cat twice in the past, besting him in the 2013 PA Governors Cup at Penn National and finishing ahead of him in this event last year. He was only a nose behind him in the Parx Dash back in July and ran the race of his life last November at Santa Anita, finishing second in the G1 Breeders Cup Turf Sprint. Kendrick Carmouche will ride for trainer Jason Servis.
The morning line favorite in the long distance G3 Greenwood Cup is Repole Stable’s Micromanage. He’s also entered and opens at 8-1 in Saturday’s G1 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga so it remains to be seen where trainer Todd Pletcher decides to run. The 4 year-old Medaglia D’Oro colt was an easy winner last time out in the one mile and three-quarter Birdstone Stakes at Saratoga and was second beaten by only a neck in the G2 Brooklyn over one mile and a half in early June at Belmont Park. Joe Bravo has been named to ride. Opening as second choice is Abraham. Owned by Michael Dubb,& Bethlehem Stables & The Elkstone Group, the 4 year-old gelded son of Distorted Humor will be looking for his first career stakes victory. He’s been super sharp lately, coming off consecutive wire-to-wire wins in high priced optional claimers at Belmont and Saratoga. Junior Alvarado rides for Bill Mott.
The Turf Amazon is topped by Dan Considine & Steve Snowden’s Sweet Cassiopeia. The 6 year-old Five Star Day mare has won 11 races lifetime and nearly $650,000. A multiple stakes winner on dirt this year, she’ll look to beat eleven rivals on the grass come Monday. Trainer Bill Connelly has named Brian Hernandez, Jr. to ride.
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