News and STORIES

Medina Spirit Will Not Run in the Pennsylvania Derby

Author: Chris Adams
Published: Friday September 24, 2021

This Saturday features 8 races from Parx, formerly known as Philadelphia Park. The main event is the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby. Winner of the 2021 Kentucky Derby, Medina Spirit, drew an outside post for the event, but was withdrawn by connections.

Parx Saturday Stakes Schedule

This weekend will mark the biggest weekend of the year at Parx Race Course in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Saturday card features 8 stakes races including 5 graded events.

The Plum Pretty Stakes

The Plum Pretty Stakes is the 6th race and kicks off the stakes action. The race is for state bred fillies and mares three year olds and up at 1 1/16 mile on the dirt. The race includes the favorite in #6 Chub Wagon who last won the Dashing Beauty Stakes. Joining her in the gates will be #3 Vault for Brad Cox who drops out of the Grade 3 Molly Pitcher and gets Joel Rosario aboard. #4 Precious is the third choice on the morning line.

The Parx Dirt Mile

Unsurprisingly this race will be run at a 1 mile distance. The race is for older horses on dirt. #6 Silver State has been installed as the heavy favorite for Steve Asmussen. The horse does seem to have a distinct edge in class over the rest including #3 Mind Control and #7 Warrior's Charge

The Greenwood Cup (Grade 3)

The Greenwood Cup will be run and 12 furlongs on dirt for older horses. #3 Moretti comes out of the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Stakes where he was a disappointing 7th. This is an easier lot, but by how much remains to be seen. #1 Forewarned also drops out of an out of the money finish in a Grade 1. The race does feature some interesting options including #8 Sea Foam who is the only horse in the race to win his last contest.

The Turf Monster Stakes (Grade 3 Turf)

The Turf Monster Stakes is a turf sprint run at just 5 furlongs. The race will feature older horses. #8 Caravel was installed as the morning line favorite at 9-5. Other prominent runners includes #4 Carotari and #5 Firecrow are hovering around 4-1 and have been running competitive of late. Both runners have New York jockeys coming into Pennsylvania to ride.

The Gallant Bob Stakes (Grade 2)

This dirt sprint will be run at 6 furlongs and will feature 3 year old runners. This race is headlined by an animal that has been ultra impressive all year long. Jackie’s Warrior drew the #7 post and was installed at 4-5 on the morning line. The next closest runner is at 6-1 on the morning line. Jackie’s Warrior was last seen winning the Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial Stakes. 

The Cotillion Stakes (Grade 1)

This dirt route will be contested at a mile and 1/16th for three year old fillies. This race will feature a number of runners who have been prominent in the Oaks division throughout the year. #6 Clairiere was installed as the 2-1 favorite off of a 2nd place finish in the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes. That race also featured the #3 Will’s Secret, #4 Maracuja, and #5 Army Wife and who all run here as well. The Grade 1 Test Stakes will also play a big role in the race with #1 Obligatory and #8 Always Carina set to run here. The horses finished 5th and 4th respectively.

The Pennsylvania Derby (Grade 1)

The main event on the card is the Pennsylvania Derby which is contested over a distance of 1 ⅛ miles. The race will feature a number of prominent runners from the 2021 Kentucky Derby trail.

Medina Spirit Out

The big news over the weekend in the race was that 2021 Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit would be withdrawing from the race. Trainer Bob Baffert pointed to the wide post draw as the reason for the horse passing on the event. Medina Spirit was scheduled to leave from the 9 post. The decision to scratch has many scratching their heads as the horse won the Kentucky Derby from the 8 post which seems inconsistent with the “wide post” rationale for the scratch.

Remaining Entries

The race sans Medina Spirit has a number of interesting story lines. Many horses who weren’t ready to run in the 2021 Kentucky Derby have since developed and put in efforts that make them requisite of a chance to run against this level of horse. This includes runners like #1 Fulsome, #3 Speaker’s Corner, #5 I Am Redeemed, and #10 Americanrevolution.

The new shooters will meet several horses from the Kentucky Derby trail including #2 Keepmeinmind, #4 Weyburn, and #6 Bourbonic. Two additional horses that will take a lion’s share of the attention on the tote board will square off for the first time since the Haskell Stakes.

In the Haskell Stakes #7 Hot Rod Charlie crossed the line first. #8 Midnight Bourbon who was prominently placed throughout the race clipped heels of Hot Rod Charlie in the lane and tossed his jockey. After review it was determined that Hot Rod Charlie had committed a foul against Midnight Bourbon and he was disqualified and placed last. 

The Alphabet Soup Handicap

This turf route is for state bred horses three year olds and up and will go as the last race on the 13 race program. On paper the race is wide open with #1 You Must Chill, #3 Irish Cork, and #7 Wait For It all between 7-2 and 5-1. Only 4 of the 11 runners in the race were assigned morning lines in the double digits.

Other Stakes Actions from Around the Country


  • Athenia Stakes (Grade 3 Turf) on Saturday

  • Kelso Handicap (Grade 2) on Saturday

  • Gallant Bloom Handicap (Grade 2) on Sunday

Churchill Downs

  • Dogwood (Grade 3) on Saturday

Remington Park

  • Oklahoma Derby (Grade 3) on Sunday

  • Remington Park Oaks (Grade 3) on Sunday


  • Bold Venture (Grade 3) on Saturday