Individuation to Face Eleven Rivals in PA Derby

The 18th Running of the G1 PA Derby

Saturday, September 24, 2022

PRX Race #19 $1,000.000

3YOs 122 Lbs 11/8

Course/Stakes Record-1:47.43 (Heretowinthisfight-2020)

The biggest card of the PRX meet will be held Saturday and the G1 PA Derby will be the feature on the day.  A full gate of twelve sophomores will contest the last 3yo-only dirt route G1 of the 2022 season.  Along with the $1,000.000 purse, the sophomores will be chasing the 10 BC Classic points that will be awarded to the winner.  As the leaderboard currently stands now, Individuation, All Take, and Changing Times have accumulated enough points to be in the main body of the November field, but Positive Id (by virtue of his win in the G1 Haskell) is the only runner in here that has secured his spot in the gate.  With Individuation sitting second with 30-points, he could almost assuredly run up the track in this and still be in good position; however, All Take and Changing Times probably need a result here to feel better about their situations.  Ey Mon is another runner that is right on the cusp, but he too needs to grab as many points as he can if he wants to visit KEE in November for the Classic.  Ideal Info probably needs a win to add to the 10-points he already has, but he could sneak in with a runner-up effort as well.  Obviously, this is a major race with end of the year implications on the line so let’s take a look at the field for the 18th running of the G1 PA Derby:

#1 Croton Road (Invicta Group Llc/J. Bravo): Sharp-eyed conditioner snagged this one for $22.500 out of a winning effort on the turf before sending him to FP to win a $250.000 stake.  Gelding spent some time on the KYD trail, but the last two have been improvements over what we saw from him in the spring.  Deeper waters here, but he’s drawn well for this test.

#2 Individuation (Mb Stables/L. Saez): Probably the leader for divisional honors has by no means secured that title, but his last two efforts were powerful statements on his behalf.  It’s been a while since he’s drawn this well but he seems to bring his race with him wherever he turns up.  Could see him cement his divisional status with a win, but he has the luxury of not having to be fully cranked for this either.  The fact that he’s the barn’s only entrant can only be seen as a sign of confidence.

#3 Positive Id (Gdp Inc/J.R. Velazquez): G1 Haskell winner could not best the field that showed up at the Spa for the Travers but that doesn’t take away his BC guarantee.  Did not display his customary early foot last time, but he’s well-drawn here to get back to those tactics.  Former claimer has done well for this outfit and would not be a surprise for him to run well in this spot.  

#4 Ey Mon (Arindel/E. Jaramillo): Queens Plate winner earned no BC points for his monster effort at WO so he’ll need another big performance here if he wants to make the headliner at KEE.  Gets a good draw here and he’s shown an ability to run well under different instructions.  Lots of positives going for this guy, but he needs his best to grab some much-needed points.

#5 All Take (Alydar Stables/V. Espinoza): PRK winner hasn’t found the winning move the last three times we’ve seen him.  Horse likes to settle into his stride a bit further back than most of these and that doesn’t always work well with this iteration of the RE.  He’ll probably need to pass a lot of good horses to best this group, but at least we’ve seen him do it before.

#6 Stolen Thunder (Night Rider Stables/S.X. Bridgmohan): A winner in two of his last three, this one was tagged for $20.000 following a front-running score at SAR.  That was his first win in two races against winners and the new outfit took away the life jacket for this assignment.  Figures to be part of the pace battle, but he’ll have to up his game against a field of this quality.

#7 Ideal Info (Arindel/Ru. Gonzalez): Lightly-raced gelding doesn’t win a lot, but he’s earning his keep with those three runner-up efforts in graded races this season.  The N1X at SA is the best win he owns; however, he’s two lengths short of being a three time graded winner too.  The two most recent mile works are encouraging and he’s in need of points, so expect to see the best he’s got here.

#8 General Tsao (Mojica Racing/M.E. Smith): A $2.000 purchase in the March auction, this one has won five straight as he’s climbed the class ladder while progressing from the free track, to a $7.500 N2L claimer, to a N1X allowance, to a $50.000 listed stake, and, finally, last month’s G3 WV Derby score.  In almost all of those he came from well off the pace and found his best stride at the right time.  Water’s deeper here, but hard to argue that he hasn’t earned the right to be here.  

#9 Lions Reward (Smokey Stover/A. Cedillo): G3 winner last month at MTH, this one likes to be involved from the start.  Was working as well as anyone in his crop back in February so it’s nice to see that he’s starting to put it all together in the afternoon.  Takes his first crack at G1 types here, but have to believe he’s done some serious work on the farm for this to be the barn’s only runner.  Stalk and pounce type could prove hard to get by if he makes the lead.

#10 America First (TwinTowersRacing/M. Franco): TX Derby winner was most recently seen running 3rd, beaten just three-quarters of a length in G3 WV Derby.  Has the early foot to get himself within striking range pretty early and like the fact that he’s been fairly consistent with his efforts.  Improvement is needed to prove best here, but he should be in position to show it when the money is on the line.

#11 Changing Times (D J C Racing Stables/R.M. Hernandez): G1 BG Stakes winner has come close to replicating that run in two of his starts since, but he came up short in those tries.  If his current pattern holds, we should see one of his better performances here, but his non-efforts make him a risky proposition.  He’ll probably give them a head start again, but think we’ll see more from him here than what he showed at SAR.

#12 Hand Cannon  (Fractious/S. Elliott): Claimed for $32.000 in May, this one makes his graded return almost a year after we last saw him try these types.  He did well against NM-breds over the winter and early spring and the last two efforts have both been progressive-type runs, but he got no favors with this draw.  Speed ball was probably going to be forwardly-placed no matter what, but now he has to clear as many as he can before entering the first turn. 

Final Analysis: We could go in a lot of directions here with varied levels of confidence, but sometimes you just have to take the best horse.  We’ll be playing 2-9-4 in the G1 PA Derby.  Good luck to all of the connections!  

Categories: Grade I, Races, STAKES ARTICLES

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