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Zandon and Cyberknife Square Off in Pennsylvania Derby

Pennsylvania Derby
A field of 11 line up in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (Photo credit: © George Zilberman | Dreamstime.com).

Separated by just a nose in their last outing, Cyberknife and Zandon square off again on Saturday in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (G1) at Parx Racing.

Cyberknife  was no match for Epicenter in a runner up finish in the Travers (G1) last out at Saratoga, edging Zandon by just a nose.

The duo will face the Bob Baffert trained Taiba, who was installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite. The colt was beaten a head by Cyberknife in his last outing in the Haskell Invitational (G1) at Monmouth Park on July 23.

Cyberknife has won five of his 10 career starts with three seconds. “I thought we might go straight to the Breeders’ Cup,” his trainer Brad Cox said. “He had a really good breeze last weekend. Time wise it wasn’t anything crazy fast, but it’s how he’s doing, how he looks, how he’s acting. This is one last swing at a Grade 1 around two turns for straight 3-year-olds.”

A field of 11 will line up in the Pennsylvania Derby, one of 10 stakes on the blockbuster card at Parx Racing on Saturday.

The co-feature is the $1 million Cotillion (G1) for three-year-old fillies. A field of nine line up led by 2-1 morning line favorite Secret Oath. The D. Wayne Lukas trainee was second to Nest in her last outing in the Alabama (G1) at Saratoga on Aug. 20.

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

Parx Racing Race 12 The Pennsylvania Derby G1 Post time 6:10 ET

1 Zandon   6-1

5 Cyberknife   3-1

8 Taiba   5-2

7 Tawny Port   6-1

 

Zandon

The Chad Brown trainee did not have enough punch in the stretch in the Travers (G1) last out in a third p[lace finish. The cut back to 1 1/8 miles should suit this guy. Two back he earned his first triple digit Beyer in a runner up finish behind Epicenter in the Jim Dandy (G2) at today’s distance. He won the Blue Grass (G1) at Keenland and ran well in a third-place finish at 6-1 in the Kentucky Derby (G1). He picks up a new rider in Rosario as Prat is back aboard We the People. He is going to need to see some pace in front of him which is a question mark. He comes running late in each start and the 5-1 morning line looks fair enough.

Cyberknife

The colt set the early fractions in the travers and was no match for Epicenter in the stretch in a runner up finish. The time to bet him was two back where he was a game winner of the Haskell (G1) and paid $17.60. It appears he should get a good trip here likely sitting just off the pace. The cut back to 1 1/8 miles will suit him. The main knock is the price which may end up south of his 3-1 morning line.

Taiba

After a disappointing effort in the Kentucky Derby the lightly raced Baffert trainee bounced back with a game effort in the Haskell where he was beaten just a head by Cyberknife. He was two lengths clear of jack Cristopher who wo the H.A. Jerkens (G1) inn his next outing on Aug. 27 at Saratoga. The colt went into the Kentucky Derby off just two starts, a romp in his debut and then winning the Santa Anita Derby (G1) in his first start against winners.  The colt owns a solid pace profile throughout and appears to have more upside than any of these. Baffert has won this race three times, the most recent with McKinzie in 2018. The colt has been working sharply since his last outing. Looks tough but at a light price.

Wagering:

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

EXACTA: 1,5 / 1,5,8 and 1 / 5,6,7,8

Contest Penn Derby