Pennsylvania Derby Odds and Picks

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

By Tom Wilkinson
Horse Racing Pennyslvania Derby

The last major prep for the Breeders’ Cup Classic next month is the $1 million dollar Pennsylvania Derby on Saturday. We don’t get Justify, as the Triple Crown winner retired, but we do get his stablemate McKinzie, who is a multiple stakes winning horse trained by Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert and ridden by

Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith.McKinzie is listed as the 5-2 morning line favorite. Let’s look at the race and Pennsylvania Derby picks.

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Pennsylvania Derby

  • 1 - First Mondays / Jockey: F. Pennington / Odds: 15-1
  • 2 - Hofburg / Jockey: I. Ortiz Jr. / Odds: 3-1
  • 3 - Instilled Regard / Jockey: J. Ortiz / Odds: 15-1
  • 4 - King Zachary / Jockey: C. Lanerie / Odds: 20-1
  • 5 - Core Beliefs / Jockey: J. Talamo / Odds: 10-1
  • 6 - Axelrod / Jockey: J. Bravo / Odds: 5-1
  • 7 - Mr Freeze / Jockey: R. Albarado / Odds: 12-1
  • 8 - McKinzie / Jockey: M. Smith / Odds: 5-2
  • 9 - Trigger Warning / Jockey: I. Rosendo / Odds: 20-1
  • 10 - Bravazo / Jockey: L. Saez / Odds: 6-1

Leading this field of 10 horses is McKinzie who is making his first start since early March. The horse has won three of his four starts, although his last win was by disqualification, as he was moved up from second to first in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity on March 10. McKinzie is said to be working well for his return. Baffert won this race last year with West Coast and has won the Pennsylvania Derby twice.


Hofburg is the second choice in the betting odds. The horse finished third place in the Belmont Stakes for trainer Bill Mott. He finished seventh in the Kentucky Derby and then skipped the Preakness. Mott has won the Pennsylvania Derby twice.

Bravazo is the third betting choice for D. Wayne Lukas. The horse finished third in the Travers Stakes in late August. Bravazo is the only horse to compete in all three Triple Crown races and continue on this season. Lukas won the 2013 Pennsylvania Derby with Will Take Charge.

The only other horse listed at single-digit odds is Axelrod who is coming off a nice win in the Smart Jones Stakes last month. He will be looking to win this third straight race for trainer Michael McCarthy.

Glancing at the longshots, First Mondays is the son of Curlin and he is coming off a third place finish in the Smarty Jones Stakes. He may not be ready yet to handle a field this strong. Instilled Regard has been fourth in his last three races and hasn’t even run since the Kentucky Derby. It is hard to take a horse to win off that type of layoff. King Zachary is another son of Curlin and he is coming off a fourth in the Travers. If you are going to take a longshot, King Zachary is worth considering. Core Beliefs has won only twice in seven tries and is probably overmatched. Mr Freeze has three wins in four starts, but he is stepping up in class.

Trigger Warning has run 13 times and almost all of his races were at lower level tracks. He is way out of his league in this one.

Pennsylvania Derby Picks

I like the favorite McKinzie in this race but I also give a big chance to Bravazo. I think this race will come down to one of those two horses. I will play both horses to win and also play an exacta box with the two horses. If you want a longshot, the horse I would take is King Zachary who will go off at double-digit odds.

The Pennsylvania Derby takes place on Saturday, September 22 at Parx Racecourse with a start time of 5:45 p.m. Eastern.

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