Pennsylvania Derby Predictions, Expert Picks, Odds (Parx Racing)

Pennsylvania Derby

If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick Hot Rod Charlie (5/2) and my top long shot Bourbonic (20/1)

Pennsylvania Derby Predictions and Odds

Check out our predictions and odds for the Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing!

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
1 FULSOME 10/1
F Geroux B Cox
J Rosario R Diodoro
J Ortiz W Mott
4 WEYBURN 20/1
P Lopez J Jerkens
A Adorno P Pearce
K Carmouche T Pletcher
F Prat D O’Neill
R Santana Jr S Asmussen
J Velazquez B Baffert
L Saez T Pletcher

The division leader Essential Quality may not be there, but in Medina Spirit, Hot Rod Charlie, and Midnight Bourbon, the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby has attracted three of the top sophomore colts in the country. Run at 1 1/8-miles on the main track at Parx Racing, an intriguing field of 10 has been entered in the Grade 1 race.

On the first Saturday in May, Medina Spirit took the lead at the start and never looked back, finishing first in the Kentucky Derby over the deepest field of 3-year-olds assembled this year. A pair of failed post-race blood tests leave that result in question, but the speedy son of Protonico came back to run third in the Preakness, before returning off a layoff to win the recent Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar.

The Louisiana Derby winner Hot Rod Charlie was only a length behind Medina Spirit in the Kentucky Derby and has since come back with an excellent second in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes, before finishing first in the Grade 1 Haskell Stakes. His win last time at Monmouth Park did not stand up, though, as he was disqualified for the interference of Midnight Bourbon.

A runner-up in the Preakness, Midnight Bourbon bounced back from his eventful trip in the Haskell with a strong second-place effort in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes giving Essential Quality everything he wanted down the stretch at Saratoga. Also in the Kentucky Derby, the son of Tiznow was bothered badly at the start, and had to settle for sixth.

Take a look at this weekend’s best horse racingng picks for other races, here!

Best Bets for the Pennsylvania Derby

Here are my plays ($60 in total)

$10 Exacta part wheel – Hot Rod Charlie over Midnight Bourbon and Bourbonic = $20

$5 Exacta box – Hot Rod Charlie, Midnight Bourbon, and Bourbonic = $30

$10 Win – Bourbonic = $10

Top Picks:

Hot Rod Charlie (5/2)

Bourbonic (20/1)

Bet on Pennsylvania Derby Here!

Pennsylvania Derby Analysis

Medina Spirit

(Will be scratched) From the barn of Bob Baffert, this one made the race in the Kentucky Derby by going right out to the early lead and taking the strong field all the way around. He will likely attempt to do the same here, but this time others will not likely take his speed for granted. After being run down by first Midnight Bourbon and then Rombauer in the Preakness, he was freshened up for a fall campaign. His return win in the Shared Belief was a solid victory, which should have him ready to run well on Saturday. His speed and toughness are always a threat, but with pace pressure and tough competition in the Pennsylvania Derby, I am predicting more of a Preakness result than what we saw at Churchill Downs.

Hot Rod Charlie

A winner of the $1 million Louisiana Derby in March, this one has been a little snakebit since. He performed admirably in both the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes but was not able to make it to the wire first. In the Grade 1 Haskell, he looked like the best horse and did get to the wire first, only to be taken down by the Stewards. With two months off since the bad luck at Monmouth, the Oxbow colt continues to work very well for another try in a top company. All systems seem to go for another strong effort. I also believe he has a tactical advantage in here of having a little more closing kick than the other two favorites. He seems due for a statement win. He is the top pick.

Midnight Bourbon

Trained by Steve Asmussen, this speedy son of Tiznow has run in nine consecutive graded stakes since impressively breaking his maiden last August. While he has consistently run well, he has only been able to win one of the stakes tries. Having said that, second-place finishes in the Louisiana Derby, Preakness, and Travers demonstrate his overall class. Also, his most recent race in the Travers was probably his best race to date. Perhaps he too is due to a breakthrough. Still, in the Haskell, and despite the trouble, Hot Rod Charlie looked like the better horse. As the third choice, I will not talk you off this horse, but I cannot say I like him best either.


This Juddmonte homebred has done quite well for himself running at a level a cut below this company. In fact, he’s won 4-of-5 on the dirt, including three stakes races. None of them were at this level, though. His one loss came at the Indiana Derby against a pretty mediocre field at low odds. It was either just a bad day or it demonstrates that he is best at Grade 3 company. He should be considered, especially with a win over the track, but I believe the top ones are probably just a little too talented for him.

American revolution

Trained by Todd Pletcher, this lightly raced son of Constitution has been perfect in three starts this year and he’s done it at three different tracks and three different distances. The last one came in the 9 furlongs Albany Stakes for New York-breds at Saratoga. He has been very impressive in each of the wins, giving the impression of graded stakes type talent. Unfortunately, the jump up from statebreds to this level of class will likely be tough. I see him as a graded stakes winner in the future, but probably not on Saturday.


This one has danced every dance this year but has yet to find the winner’s circle in seven tries. Things do not get any easier here, as he comes out of an okay effort in the 10 furlongs Travers to face this difficult group. On the plus side, he has run plenty of good races, most notably a good second in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy, and there is a solid pace in here to set up his rally. Still, I have to wonder if the well may eventually dry up. He should be making up ground in the lane, but I prefer others in here.

Speaker’s Corner

After a promising start to his career last summer, this son of Street Sense had more than ten months between races before returning in a Saratoga allowance race in August. It was an eye-catching performance, in which he easily defeated some good horses. Now the Godolphin homebred, trained by Bill Mott, steps right up into Grade 1 company. He seems to have serious talent and tons of potential, but this is a very difficult spot. I expect very good things from him down the road, but with only one race in nearly a year, and never having run beyond 7 furlongs, I cannot jump on the bandwagon just yet.


After a disappointing fourth-place finish in Grade 2, the Gotham winner is back to take another shot at a top company. The son of Pioneerof the Nile has some talent and tenacity, and I do expect him to be more aggressively ridden this time by Paco Lopez, but that might only push him into pressuring the three favorites early. I do think he can run better than his last, but it still is not likely to be good enough to defeat this bunch.


This long shot from the barn of Todd Pletcher might be considered a one-hit-wonder after his big upset in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial earlier this year, but I think there is still more good racing left in him. His rally was stunted at the longer distances of the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes, but after a brief freshening following the 12 furlong Belmont, he came back to run a good third in the West Virginia Derby. He will need to do better than that to threaten this field, but I think he will. This race sets up better for a closer, and he is proven at the trip. The last race should have the late runner ready to fire a big shot, and he has run at Parx before. He is my top long shot.

I Am Redeemed

While it’s true that this long shot from the barn of Penny Pearce ran a good figure last time over the track, it came against Pennsylvania statebreds, which makes this a bigger jump up in class than anyone else in the race. He’s been good at Parx, and it appears he has some talent, but the competition in this $1 million race just seems like too much class for him.

How to Watch the Pennsylvania Derby

Pennsylvania Derby Race Information
What Pennsylvania Derby (Grade 1)
Location Parx Racing
Time Saturday, September 25 — 5:49 pm Eastern time
How to Watch TVG
Purse $1,000,000

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Brian Zipse

Expert on Horse Racing

Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.

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