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Pennsylvania Derby Odds: Saudi Crown Ready to Prove His Best on the Track

Written by: Brian Zipse
Updated September 21, 2023
8 min read

Pennsylvania Derby Odds and Post Position

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





P Henry Jr

U St. Lewis




I Ortiz Jr

T Pletcher




F Geroux

B Cox




T Gaffalione

S Asmussen




J Alvarado

W Mott




D Haddock

L Linder Jr




T Conner

S Joseph Jr




J Velazquez

B Walsh





T Pletcher





A Sano




J J Hernandez

B Baffert

Odds provided by author Brian Zipse.

Pennsylvania Derby Predictions and Best Bets

Here are my plays ($60 in total)

  • $10 Exacta Part Wheel - Saudi Crown over Scotland, Reincarnate, and Gilmore = $30 
  • $10 Exacta Part Wheel - Scotland, Reincarnate, and Gilmore over Saudi Crown = $30 
  • If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick Saudi Crown (7/2).    

Take a look at our Horse Racing Calculator and ensure your bets!



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Pennsylvania Derby Predictions

A two-time stakes winner this year, Reincarnate tops a deep field of 11 sophomore males entered in Saturday’s $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (G1) at Parx.

Reunited with trainer Bob Baffert in his last start, after moving to the barn of Tim Yakteen so that he could compete in the Kentucky Derby, the son of Good Magic rolled to victory in the Los Alamitos Derby eleven weeks ago.

Two starts back he contested a very fast pace before fading to 13th-place in the Run for the Roses, which was the only time he finished out of the top three in nine career starts.

Chief among his competition in the 9-furlong Pennsylvania Derby will be the lightly raced contender from the barn of Brad Cox, Saudi Crown.

Although has yet to win a stakes race, he is proven in graded stakes racing, having finished second in both the Dwyer Stakes (G3) and the Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) in his last two starts. 

A sharp winner of his first two career races, the son of Always Dreaming was beaten by just a nose in both stakes tries. 

Two others who should receive plenty of betting support on Saturday are the Bill Mott-trained Scotland and the Steve Asmussen-trained Magic Tap. 

The former won the Curlin Stakes at Saratoga two starts back, while the latter is coming off an allowance score, also at Saratoga. 

Pennsylvania Derby Predictions and Race Analysis


Trained by Bob Baffert again after his Kentucky Derby run, this Good Magic colt looks to make it two straight for the barn. A solid runner on the Derby trail early this year, he has good speed and has proven class. 

The two-time stakes winner should not be penalized too much for his fade out of the Kentucky Derby stretch run, as that was much too fast an early pace. His return race while winning the Los Alamitos Derby was solid and he is working well for this assignment. 

Things will be tougher here, however, and I do not love the far-outside post. Still, he is clearly one of the main contenders for this big prize.

Saudi Crown

This son of Always Dreaming is two noses shy of being perfect in four career starts for trainer Brad Cox. After two nice wins sprinting to begin his career, he moved up to graded stakes competition and was narrowly beaten in both the Dwyer and the Jim Dandy.

In both of the losses, he fought on valiantly down the stretch, making me believe that he is a colt of some real class. There is plenty of other speed in the race, but I do believe he is tactical enough to not engage in a speed duel. 

Given the strong performances and near misses of the last two against very solid competition, I like his chances to break through with a Grade 1 victory on Saturday. He is the top pick.


This son of Good Magic had run four good races to begin his career, including a very nice win in the Curlin Stakes at Saratoga, before tiring out of contention in the Grade 1 Travers. 

This field is not as strong as that one as he cuts back down to 9-furlongs for trainer Bill Mott. The experience should only help as he tries another Grade 1. 

I look for an improved effort off the Travers and with the speed of the top pair, he should get a stalking trip. He is one of the top dangers to my top pick.

Magic Tap

A lightly raced son of Tapit, this Steve Asmussen trainee should vie with Scotland for third choice in this deep field of 3-year-olds. After being far behind Saudi Crown in each of their career debuts, he has looked good in stretching out in distance. 

A big winner against maidens in his second start, he has battled to a second and a first in two allowance races. With that experience, he should be ready to take on his first stakes race. 

He has tactical speed, but will likely be a little farther back early in this one. It’s not an easy spot, but any further improvement makes him a real contender on Saturday.

Il Miracolo

This son of Gun Runner has turned it up the last few starts with a second to Scotland in the Curlin Stakes before an impressive win in the Grade 3 Smarty Jones, which is the local prep for the Pennsylvania Derby.  

He was a little erratic down the stretch in the win and it did come against lesser competition than he will see here. Before the last two, he had finished off the board in his previous stakes tries. 

He is improving, as his pedigree suggests he will do, and cannot be dismissed. I like others better, but he is in with a shot for trainer Antonio Sano.


Trained by Brendan Walsh, this grey son of Twirling Candy has finished second or third in four of his stakes tries this year. 

After six straight attempts in stakes races, he dropped down to allowance company for the first time in his career and was a game-winner at Saratoga last month. 

Like many in the field, he has good tactical speed and with the right trip should be involved as they turn for home. The 9-furlong distance is a bit of a question, but if he can stay the trip he looks to fit with this group.


Trainer Todd Pletcher will take the blinkers off this son of Gun Runner after a very disappointing effort last time in a Saratoga allowance race. Sent off as a big 9/10 favorite, he finished 13 lengths behind Magic Tap. 

If you can excuse that performance, he’s in with a shot after just missing by a head in the Wood Memorial (G2) as a maiden and then romping at Saratoga against other maidens. 

He is eligible to bounce back for some of the nation’s best connections, but that last one is so bad it’s hard to know what you will get this time against a deep field.


The second of two from the Pletcher barn, this Curlin colt has some stakes experience. It came earlier this year in a pair of Grade 2 races while he was still a maiden. 

He didn’t fare well at all in either but has come back this summer to win two straight. His maiden-breaking performance at Monmouth Park was not overly impressive, but his allowance win last time at Saratoga was enough to get him another shot against graded performers. 

He also showed some newfound tactical speed in those wins. I like others better, but it’s not out of the question that he could step up and work his way into the exotics on Saturday.

West Coast Cowboy

A son of West Coast, this Saffie Joseph, Jr. colt has run in a number of stakes races so far in his short career but has yet to break through with a victory. 

His last, where he split Red Route One and One in Vermillion for second place in the West Virginia Derby (G3) might be his best yet. 

He has good tactical speed which once again should put him in contention early here, but it looks like he lacks the turn of foot to win over a field like this. Still, he might be a contender to stick around for a share.

Daydreaming Boy

This son of Goldencents is no stranger to Parx. Saturday’s million-dollar affair will be his tenth start over the main track there. He’s found success over the oval, but all of his wins came in maiden or allowance races. 

Winless in five previous stakes attempts, he finished nearly five lengths back when third behind Il Miracolo in the Smarty Jones. 

I do believe that he will someday win his first stakes race, but as far as winning this Grade 1 affair, I do not like his chances.

Modern Era

Still, a maiden after eight career starts, this son of Honor Code will be a huge longshot on Saturday. 

While he has been more competitive in races this year than last year, he still looks a far way from threatening here. 

Although his trainer Uriah St. Lewis has pulled off some big upsets over the years, I find this one hard to recommend.



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How to Watch the Pennsylvania Derby

  • What: Pennsylvania Derby (Grade 1) 
  • Location: Parx
  • Time: Saturday, September 23 at 6:10 pm Eastern Time
  • How to Watch: FanDuel TV
  • Purse: $1,000,000
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Brian Zipse

Horse Racing Betting Analyst

Horse Racing
Betting Picks
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.
Nationality: American
Education: Bachelor of Communications
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