The 9th Running of the G2 PEN Mile
June 3, 2022
$400.000 1-Mile Turf 3YOs 122 Lbs
PEN Race #19 Post Time 23:00
Track Record-1:32.47 (Fireflying-2022)
Stakes Record-1:32.71 (Clockwork Chai-2017)
The weekend’s graded stakes action kicks off late Friday night as seven sophomore turf milers will contest the 9th running of the $400.000 G2 PEN Mile. The race will go to post at 23:00 as the 19th race on the PEN card with all seven runners carrying 122-pounds. Mb Stables (2017, 2018) and John Henry (2019, 2021) have combined to take half of the previous runnings while jockey F. Pennington (2015, 2016) is the only rider with two victories in the race’s brief history.
Friday’s G2 PEN Mile reunites the DH winners of last month’s G2 American Turf and brought in four other stake winners. Creepy Risk and Sly Prayers, who couldn’t be separated at CD, renew their budding rivalry as the only graded winners in this one, but there are others who appear viable in this spot should either of them stub their hooves. Here’s a look at the seven contestants for this year’s G2 PEN Mile:
#1 Sharkamaulu (Arindel/Mario Gutierrez): Rail horse is winless in five starts as a sophomore, but he was a stakes-winning juvenile and ended ’21 with a N1X win down at GP. He has three, close ITM finishes this year and is working very well for this assignment. Draw doesn’t hurt nor does the switch to Gutierrez in the irons. Looks to have some versatility to his game and have to believe he’ll be in the mix.
#2 Inspector Gadget (Nakamura Stables/E.J. Wilson): Set the pace last month at CD before tiring to DH for 6th, beaten only a length. Another versatile sort, he’s also looking for his first win after five losses to start his season. Did win a juvenile stake on the grass and seems like he prefers the lawn over the main track. Solid works leading up to this and he should have a good showing from this draw.
#3 Living In The Matrix (TwinTowersRacing/J.R. Velazquez): Only has a single win from eight tries and is winless in one start on the grass. Only has one turf work on his work tab, so he’s a bit of a mystery. He did male up ground down the lane at CD in his turf try, but these should be a bit tougher than that N1X group and he was only 4th on that day. Can’t recommend without more evidence this is a game he wants to play.
#4 Creepy Risk (Fractious/E. Jaramillo): Undefeated in four starts, he keeps acing every test. Is a graded winner on the front end and rallying from well back, so he should be able to work out a trip from the middle of the gate. He did DH with the six horse in here last time at CD so they’ll get a chance to settle their score here. Absolutely nothing on paper nor on replays that says he isn’t fully capable of running his winning streak to five in a row. Serious racehorse.
#5 Pride In The Ride (Asgar/P. Lopez): Successful sprinter stretches-out for the first time in a tough spot. That being said, he does own five wins (two stakes) from ten starts and turned-in an eye-opening 1:34.3 work at WO in preparation for this. Have to take your shots when they present themselves and this should be a good spot to see where he stacks up against a couple of the division’s best sophomores.
#6 Sly Prayers (Dawson Farms/M. Franco): Colt has four exacta-finishes in four starts on the grass and is less than 3/4 of a length from being undefeated on the sod. Only one visit to the track since the latest but the 5-furlong move was a strong one. Rematches with his DH partner from that last run and looks up to the challenge as the main rival.
#7 Mako (Arindel/T.J. Pereira): Fared worst of the quartet in the G2 American Turf that are reappearing here. That one could be a toss-out as he was drawn on the rail and just never got involved. Breaks from the outside today and we could see the rider get more aggressive with him at the start as he does have evidence of some early foot in his running lines. Hasn’t worked as fast as some others in here, but there is a strong chance he’s the one on top as they enter the stretch. Don’t discount.
Final Analysis: Maybe we’re overthinking the most logical scenario, but we’re going to say Mako turns the tables in this one. We’ll say 7-4-6 in an excellent renewal of the G2 PEN Mile. Good luck everyone!