Latest on Derby Day 2017


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact:
Keith Jones
kjones@parxracing.com

Pennsylvania Derby and Cotillion Barn Notes Comcast PA Derby Day Coverage

Trainer Bob Baffert put the finishing touches on West Coast and Abel Tasman early this morning, sending both out for a mile-long gallop. Baffert and Mary and Gary West, owners of West Coast will receive a bonus of $50,000 each for having won the Grade I Travers as part of the Pennsylvania Derby bonus program. West Coast, off his 3 ¼ length win in the Travers is the 8 to 5 morning line favorite in the Grade 1, $1 million Pennsylvania Derby, and will be in search of his fifth straight victory while Abel Tasman, also the morning line favorite at 8 to 5 in the Grade 1, $1 million Cotillion is in search of her fourth straight Grade 1 victory. “Everything is good,” said Baffert. “The biggest problem I have now is where I’m going to get breakfast in a little while,” he said with a smile. The 64 year-old Hall of Fame conditioner is enjoying his first time at Parx and has been more hands-on than in recent years due to the absence of his longtime assistant, Jimmy Barnes, who suffered an injury during training last week. It was Barnes who saddled 2014 PA Derby winner Bayern for owner Kaleem Shah. Barnes, who has been employed by Baffert since November 1998, was riding his pony when his mount stumbled and unseated the 58 year-old, said to be a “freaky thing” by Baffert. He was then transported to the hospital, and diagnosed with a fractured pelvis. Barnes is Baffert’s right hand man when it comes to shipping outside of California for a race. He was alongside American Pharoah when he won the Arkansas Derby, and remained with him through his sweep of the Triple Crown. His wife, Dana works as an exercise rider for the barn, and is the regular rider for Arrogate. Now Baffert, a recent stay at home trainer is happily back in his old environment, but wishes it was under better circumstances. “Preparation is the most important, once we get them here it’s done,” Baffert said. “ I have the job of preparing them, and I have the job of saying to Jimmy here they are, they’re locked, loaded, okay take them, and we make sure we’re ready. Set to be released from the hospital sometime Friday afternoon, Barnes will recuperate at home, but already misses his time at the barn with the horses. To aid his down time Baffert installed a video camera which will serve a dual purpose. To keep watch on his Grade 1 winners while he’s away from the barn, and also to keep Barnes busy. “I gave him the website. I told him he could be the night watchman. I was told he was watching them last night. He was sitting there, watching the both of them for about twenty minutes. It’s good because he’s going to be like that movie with Kathy Bates, what was it called? Misery? He’ll be like that, chained to his bed, driving his poor wife Dana crazy.” ***************** Albaugh Family Stable’s Watch Me Whip shipped in to Parx on Thursday afternoon, and jogged 1 ½ miles on Friday morning in preparation for the Grade I Pennsylvania Derby. The colt breezed five furlongs in 1:00.80 at Churchill Downs on Saturday for trainer Dale Romans, and will make his fifth career start, making him the least raced colt in the race other than Game Over who also owns four career starts thus far. The son of Smart Strike finished fourth in the Grade 3 Indiana Derby behind winner and PA Derby second choice Irap. A maiden breaker at first asking at Keeneland, Watch Me Whip ran eighth in the Sir Barton Stakes on the Preakness Day undercard, then returned as a runner up against first level allowance company. Lockdown looks in search for her First Grade I in the Cotillion Saez to replace injured jock Ortiz Juddmonte Farm’s Lockdown will ship in from Belmont Park tomorrow morning hoping to return to her winning ways after her sixth place finish in the Grade 1 Alabama at Saratoga on August 19. The daughter by First Defence worked a solid four furlong breeze in 47.62 over Belmont’s main track which was listed as fast on Sunday morning. The work, the fastest of 80 at that distance was her last before Saturday’s race, and gave Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott the final seal of approval for the Cotillion a Grade I million dollar race. “She’s doing good,” Mott said. “We’re training forwardly for it. She’ll ship in early in the morning. We’ll be there ready to go.” Still in search of her first graded stakes win, Lockdown broke her maiden at Aqueduct in December, her second and last race as a 2 year-old. She then returned to win the Busanda Stakes in her sophomore year. A strong second place finish in the Grade 2 Gazelle proved she was capable of graded stakes competition, and she returned to close in the slop along the rail for third at huge odds in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks despite a horrendous trip where she was steadied repeatedly, bumped and had the rider lose his whip in the stretch. A runner-up performance in the Grade 1 Mother Goose led her to the 1 ¼ mile Alabama, the longest of her career, but Mott believes the distance was a factor. “It looks like she didn’t get the mile and a quarter that day. I think this distance is more appropriate for her.” Jockey Jose Ortiz, who was named to ride Lockdown in the Cotillion will instead be sidelined for at least the weekend after suffering an injury to his left knee on Wednesday after his mount Submit fell in the last race at Belmont Park. Jockey Luis Saez, who will ride Giuseppe the Great in the Derby will be aboard for the first time to serve as his replacement. Ortiz has ridden Lockdown in three of the filly’s seven starts thus far including her maiden win, Kentucky Oaks and Mother Goose. *********** Gary Barber, Baccari Racing Stable and Chester Prince’s filly Salty will run from the outside 10 post in the Cotillion, and will try to improve off her third place finish in the Grade 1 Alabama. Trainer Mark Casse says “everything’s fine” leading up to race day, and will get another chance to dethrone Abel Tasman with his daughter by Quality Road. Salty has been unsuccessful in three tries, beginning with the Kentucky Oaks, the Acorn and the Coaching Club American Oaks finishing fifth, second and third respectively. Saturday’s race will be her eighth of the year which began with her debut at Gulfstream in February where she closed to finish second, but returned to break her maiden in her next start. Her next start came in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks where she closed to win by 4 ¼ lengths. Salty worked her final prep for the Cotillion last Friday breezing 49.09 for four furlongs over Saratoga’s main track. Salty will ship down from Saratoga early tomorrow morning, and will be saddled by Casse’s son and assistant Norman. COMCAST BROADCAST SCHEDULE FOR THE PA DERBY

Racing fans across America will have several opportunities and platforms to watch coverage of the three major races run this Saturday at Parx Racing, the $300,000 Grade 3 Gallant Bob Stakes (tape delay), the $1 million Grade 1 Cotillion Stakes and the $1 million Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby.

The live broadcast of the program will be on Comcast SportsNet beginning at 4:30PM Eastern time on the following networks:

CSN Philadelphia CSN Mid-Atlantic CSN Chicago CSN Bay Area

The full 90 minute program will be rebroadcast as follows:

CSN Philadelphia – Saturday, September 23rd at 10PM ET CSN New England – Saturday, September 30th at 2PM ET

Fans can also stream the live program on their mobile devices using the NBC Sports App or at CSNPhilly.com.

Gates open for PA Derby Day at: 10:00 a.m., Post-time for the 13 race card is 12:25pm ET. Race #7: The Alphabet Soup, post time: 3:12pm Race #8: The Connect, post-time: 3:41pm Race #9: The Gallant Bob, post-time: 4:14pm Race #10: The Cotillion Stakes, post-time: 4:55pm Race #11: The Pennsylvania Derby, post-time: 5:45pm Last post: 6:40pm