When Ridin With Biden finished a very strong second to First Captain a year ago in the Grade III Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park, it really looked like the son of Constitution had the potential to finish off his 3-year-old season with a flourish. But it did not happen.

“I don’t have a real good explanation for why he wasn’t as good I thought he was moving forward last summer other than that he was so tough on himself last year,’’ trainer Butch Reid said. “He was a bad stall walker. He would use himself up a lot before he would go to the race track.’’

So, the decision was made by owners Chuck Zacney (Cash Is King) and Glenn Bennett (LC Racing) to have the horse gelded when he went to Florida in January.

“That’s made a world of difference,’’ Reid said.

After his return to Parx, Ridin With Biden has been everything the owners and trainer had hoped for and maybe even more than they could have imagined. The gelding’s Beyer speed figures became consistent and then took a giant leap to a 94 when second to the highly-regarded Tax in a stake at Delaware Park.

And then came Saturday in the $100,000 Deputed Testamony at Laurel Park. Jockey Frankie Pennington put Ridin With Biden on the lead in the 9-furlong race and the horse ran away from the field in the stretch to win by 6 1/4 lengths, earning a 100 Beyer.

Now, Reid is considering the $1 million Charles Town Classic on Aug. 26.

`It’s a mile and an eighth and he proved that he can certainly do that,’’ Reid said. “And that’s a lot of money.’’

There is also the Parx Mile and the PTHA Presidents’ Cup in September at his home track. Suddenly, Ridin With Biden is a player with options.


Trainer Steve Asmussen, 150 wins from the magic 10,000 mark, unleashed two of his stable stars within an hour Saturday at Saratoga. We got to see the amazing Jackie’s Warrior at Parx last September when he overwhelmed the field in the Gallant Bob. And there is a chance we might see Epicenter this September in the Bet Parx Pennsylvania Derby.

If there were not other horses in the Alfred Vanderbilt, one could have been fooled into thinking Jackie’s Warrior was on the track for a workout. At no time did jockey Joel Rosario ask the 2021 Sprint Champion to run. Still, Jackie “ran’’ 6 furlongs in 1:09.74 and won with total ease, the 4-year-old’s fifth Grade I win and 11th graded stakes win overall.

By winning the Vanderbilt, Jackie’s Warrior became the first horse in Saratoga’s history to win a Grade I in three straight years. Last year, it was that memorable win in the Jerkens over Life Is Good. In 2020, it was the Hopeful.

All Jackie’s resume lacks is a Breeders’ Cup victory. Two years ago, the colt got in a speed duel at a distance that was not his best. Last year, another speed duel and a dead rail at Del Mar.

This year, Jackie’s final race will be in the Sprint at Keeneland before he is retired to Spendthrift Farm. His final BC prep will be in the Forego on Travers Day when his fans at Saratoga will be able to see him off in style.

Epicenter was favored in the Kentucky Derby and ran a race that would have won just about any other year. Epicenter was favored in the Preakness and ran another terrific race. But just did not win.

The Jim Dandy had just four horses in it, but the four included the winners of the Preakness, Blue Grass, Louisiana Derby and Ohio Derby. Epicenter was favored again, ran great again and finally got rewarded.

The pace was moderate and Epicenter was last for much of the race. It did not look good – until Epicenter exploded in the home stretch and ran by Early Voting, Zandon and Tawny Port.

Epicenter has now been first or second in each of his eight route races. The colt still does not have a Grade I win, but that was more because he stayed in Louisiana where there are no Grade I Derby preps. Epicenter is absolutely a Grade I horse.

The Travers is next. Epicenter will be favored again. However the colt does, Asmussen will have a decision to make. Does he train Epicenter up to the BC Classic in November? Or get him a final prep in the Sept. 24 Pa. Derby, the colt’s final chance to run against straight 3-year-olds.

It was great to see Jackie’s Warrior at Parx last year. Would be quite nice to see Epicenter here this year.


By Dick Jerardi

The national story was how it was all Chad Brown all the time at Monmouth Park Saturday – until it was time for the $1 million Haskell. As Brown and jockey Flavien Prat were winning all the graded stakes races before the Haskell, Parx horses were giving giant efforts all afternoon long.

And none was more impressive than Will Schwartz’s (SMD Racing) Leader of the Band in the Grade III $400,000 Molly Pitcher. The day before the race, trainer John Servis said the 4-year-old filly had never been better. He expected her to run the best race of her life. And she absolutely did.

There was no beating 3-5 Search Results (winner of a Grade I, Grade II and Grade III and most recently a hard luck third in another Grade I). The race really was for second and 16-1 Leader of the Band won that decisively after a typically smart rail ride from regular jockey Frankie Pennington.

Servis kept the Pennsylvania bred Leader of the Band with his string at Monmouth Park this summer because that is where she would be racing. She won the Grade III Monmouth Oaks a year ago and the Lady’s Secret there last month. She got a career-best 92 Beyer in the Molly Pitcher and, with 14 races, 5 wins, 4 seconds, 3 thirds and earnings of $578,690, appears to be getting better as she gets older.

Informative has raced 34 times for owner/trainer Uriah St. Lewis, with just three wins. But wins are not the right metric to judge his horses. It is earnings. After finishing third in The Monmouth Cup (behind two Chad Brown-trained horses), Informative has now earned $357,040. His only win in 2021/2022 came in the Salvator Mile at Monmouth when he was a mere 79-1. Meanwhile, the horse keeps grabbing checks and the earnings multiply.

The amazing Admiral Abe finished third in the Wolf Hill Stakes at 23-1. Claimed for $25,000 on Jan. 6, 2021 by trainer Bobby Mosco for Stefcon Racing (Ed Stefanski and Bill Conlin), The Admiral has won eight races and $449,012 since the claim.

No Parx horses in the Haskell, but we could certainly see a few of the Haskell horses at Parx on Sept. 24 for the Bet Parx Pennsylvania Derby.

Unbeaten and essentially untested Jack Christopher was the odds-on favorite to finish off a perfect day for Brown. The colt was always in great position, but just got tired in the final 100 yards. Cyberknife, racing for Al Gold who grew up in the area and spent countless days at Monmouth, ran, by far, the best race of his career, coming up the rail and holding off the late charge of Taiba who looked lost on the far turn and then came flying down the center of the track to lose by just a head. Jack Christopher had to settle for third.

Cyberknife set the mile and an eighth track record (1:46.24), a record that had stood for 2 1/2 hours after having stood since 1985 when the great Spend A Buck set it. The records were due to the insanely fast main track surface.

Regardless, Cyberknife was really good. So was Taiba. Cyberknife will go on to the Aug. 27 Travers Stakes at Saratoga. Taiba seems likely to run in the Pa. Derby as his trainer Bob Baffert is still banned from running his horses at NYRA tracks, even though his 90-day suspension is up.

The 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner is the sire of the 1-2 Haskell finishers. As good as he was on the track, Gun Runner looks to be as good as a sire as his offspring are winning major races everywhere.

The Travers should be great with the possibility of Cyberknife, Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike, Preakness winner Early Voting, Derby and Preakness runner up Epicenter and Derby third Zandon all pointing for the race.  Then, it will be a month until the $1 million Pa. Derby, with its $50,000 owner/trainer participation bonuses for any horse that won the Derby, Preakness, Haskell or Travers. Belmont Stakes winner Mo Donegal is out for the year, but Parx is going to get several of the big names in the last Grade I race of the year for 3-year-olds. 


Dick Jerardi

Lupe Preciado and Butch Reid have trained some very good horses in their careers. Favorite Tale won more than $1 million for Predicado and finished third in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Vequist was the 2020 2-year-old filly champion, Afleet Again a BC Marathon winner and Poseidon’s Warrior a Grade I winner for Reid.

But the two Parx Hall of Famers now have the most consistent high class performers they have ever had and who knows what the final accomplishments will be for Pennsylvania breds Chub Wagon and Beren? They both shipped to Laurel Park Saturday for stakes and absolutely dominated the competition.

In many other years, Beren would have been the 2021 Parx Horse of the Year. Unfortunately, Chub Wagon was also running last year at the track. Beren was an overwhelming choice as 3-year-old male champion, just as Chub Wagon was for Horse of the Year.

Chub Wagon was 4-5 in the Alma North. The 5-year-old mare broke perfectly under Silvestre Gonzalez and was just outside the speedy Cheetara. Chub Wagon ran away from her at the top of the stretch and the high-class closer Kaylasaurus was never a threat in the stretch as Chub Wagon won by a comfortable 3 lengths, running the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.03.

“She does everything right,’’ Gonzalez said. “She’s got a lot of class and she loves to run. She showed her grit today on a sloppy track. She overcame that and she ran well.’’

Chub Wagon is now 12-for-13, her lone loss being a second when she was beaten by a horse running the race of her life. She now has 8 stakes wins and earnings of $648,600. She is very simply one of the best horses ever based at Parx.

Co-owner/breeder Danny Lopez said via text that Chub Wagon’s next race likely will be at Colonial Downs or Presque Isle Downs. Like the Alma North, the Aug 16 Colonial race is part of the Match Series which concludes Oct. 3 at Parx. The Presque Isle race is Aug. 15.

Beren had a much more difficult assignment in the
$150,000 Frank De Francis Memorial Dash, his post position between graded stakes winners Special Reserve and Wondrwherecraigis. Sent off at 6-1, Beren, ridden by Frankie Pennington, was stuck in between those two for a time as the field took off down the backstretch. It was the kind of trip where a lesser horse might have backed out and not gutted it out. Beren actually seemed to relish the competition and when the field hit the top of the stretch, it was Beren who was rolling to the lead and he finished it off with a 2 3/4 length win, the 6 furlongs in 109.66

“He loves that wet, sealed track,’’ Reid said.

Beren has now raced 18 times with 8 wins, 5 seconds and earnings of $609,420. He has won six stakes. Reid thinks Beren, owned by St Omers Farm and Christopher Feifarek, will run next on the Aug. 22 Pa. Day at the Races card at Parx.

The DeFrancis has a great history with winners like Housebuster, Smoke Glacken, Thor’s Echo and Cherokee Run. That the race was run at Laurel, just 10 miles north on Route 1 from the University of Maryland campus where Reid went to college, also had special meaning for the trainer. So does Beren.

“He tries every time,’’ Reid said. “He’s such a nice horse. He stood there in the paddock like he was going for a stroll in the park.’’

And Beren ran like he always runs – hard from the start and right through the wire.


By Dick Jerardi

Princess Grace has won races at Colonial Downs, Monmouth Park, Churchill Downs, Del Mar and Kentucky Downs. The only track where she has won twice is Parx. The only race she has won twice is the Dr. James Penny Memorial.

The brilliant 5-year-old mare won the 2021 Penny after a nearly 8-month layoff. She won the 2022 version on July 12 in just her second race of the year. Princess Grace has won for five different jockeys, but Florent Geroux, who came up from Kenutcky for the race, is the only one to win on her more than once. In fact, he is now 3-for-3 with Princess Grace.

The Grade III Penny, run at 1 1/16 miles on the grass, was essentially over in the first 100 yards as Princess Grace cruised to an uncontested lead.  When fractions of 24.51 and 49.08 were posted, it was just a question of the winning margin. It was 3 lengths at the wire for 8-5 Princess Grace, with 3-2 favorite Flirting Bridge’s late run good for a clear second, but never a threat to the winner. Main Line Stable’s Love in the Air, owned by Main Line Stable and trained by John Servis, chased Princess Grace the whole trip and held on nicely for third.

Did the jockey think he was going to get such an easy lead?

“See how she breaks and go from there,’’ Geroux said. “I tried to get out as fast as I could. If somebody else wanted the lead, I was fine letting them go. I thought I had the best horse in the race, good tactical speed and I took it from there.’’

Princess Grace was just one-half length from winning her first seven starts. Then, she went west and ran two solid thirds against serious grass horses last November. The plan had been for her to run in January’s Pegasus Filly & Mare Turf, but a jaw abscess derailed that plan. So trainer Michael Stidham finally got her back to the races in the June 18 Eatontown at Monmouth Park. That turned out to be a nightmare trip for her after a nightmare trip for Geroux who never made it to the track for the ride.

“He was scheduled to ride four or five horses at Monmouth, most of the stakes and a couple of the supporting races,’’ Geroux’s agent Doug Bredar said.

Geroux was supposed to fly from Louisville to Newark the morning of the races. That flight got delayed for hours and Bredar is not sure if it ever took off. So Geroux drove to Cincinnati to get a flight to Philadelphia. That flight got canceled. He drove back to Louisville and caught a flight to Philadelphia. It actually got to Philly, but it took 45 minutes for the gate crew to open the door. He had an Uber waiting to take him to Monmouth, but, by then, it was too late so he had the Uber take him to Newark Airport where he caught a flight home.

“He tried everything known to mankind,’’ Bredar said.

Mike Smith ended up riding Princess Grace at Monmouth and whatever could go wrong did go wrong. She was wide, stuck behind a very slow pace, never got comfortable and finished last of 7.

Well, Princess Grace got very comfortable at Parx and ran to her normal top class form. Interestingly, Princess Grace’s dam Masquerade broke her maiden at Parx on June 9, 2012. She was trained at that point of her career by Steve Klesaris and was ridden by Parx Hall of Famer Stewart Elliott. She ran nine times at Parx before heading out of town.

Princess Grace earned $112,800 of the $200,000 Penny purse for owners John and Susan Moore. That made her racing’s newest millionaire with earnings of $1,086,160. In 11 lifetime starts, she has 7 wins, a second, two thirds and five graded stakes wins.


By Dick Jerardi

Over two June days at Monmouth Park, 62 miles from his Parx base and 48 hours apart, trainer Michael Moore sent out a 3-year-old that very much looks like a coming star and a 10-year-old that is a throwback to another era of horse racing.

That’s Right was a colt which had become a bit frustrating in six dirt starts, running well, but never well enough to find the winner’s circle. Tried on grass for the first time the day before the Preakness at Pimlico, the colt won by 5 lengths at 14-1, strongly suggesting he had found his niche as a grass sprinter. That’s Right proved the Pimlico win was no fluke when he crushed grass sprinters again on June 17 at Monmouth, winning by 5 1/4 lengths.

Two days later, Moore sent the venerable Brother Chub out for his first start of 2022, nine months after his last start. It was race No. 63 for the New Jersey bred. And he got to the wire first, making it win No. 18 in an incredible career.

“(That’s Right) always showed talent, he was always very quick,’’ Moore said. “He just wouldn’t finish the race well.’’

A small knee chip was discovered so that was removed and the horse got some time off while transitioning from 2 to 3. When That’s Right returned, he kept getting run down late again. So owner Jim Shannon and Moore tried him on grass. He was entered for $25,000 at Laurel Park, but providentially did not get in the race.

“Thank God, he got excluded,’’ Moore said. “If he happened to get claimed which wouldn’t have been out of the question, it would be tough watching him right now.’’

The race at Pimlico was a special weight, the Monmouth race a first-level allowance. That’s Right won’t be in any claiming races for the foreseeable future.

The colt got blinkers and a new rider in Andy Hernandez prior to the Pimlico race. While Moore does not discount those changes, he is pretty well convinced it’s the grass that has made That’s Right so dominant.

“On the turf, he looks like a totally different horse, full of run,’’ Moore said. “The action looks totally different. He looks like he’s loving running on it.’’

They are pointing That’s Right to the $100,000 My Frenchman Stakes at Monmouth, 5 1/2 furlongs on the grass for 3-year-olds on July 17.

Brother Chub had already run 23 times when Moore put in a claim slip for $12,500 on March 7, 2017 at Parx. Since the claim, the horse has 39 starts, 14 wins, 12 seconds and earnings of $551,365.

Brother Chub won the Claiming Crown Express in 2019 and the Reilly for Jersey breds in 2018. Mostly, the son of Hey Chub has earned his money the hard way by winning conditioned allowances and optional claimers.

Brother Chub broke on top in his comeback race, tracked in second, took over at the top of the stretch, opened up a nice lead and held firm. Announcer Chris Griffin summed the horse up perfectly when, in the final yards he said: “Brother Chub needs the wire, he knows where it is.’’

Brother Chub really does seem to know where the wire is. His last four 2019 wins came by a head, a head, a head and a nose.    

Through June, Moore has 22 wins, 21 seconds 14 thirds and earnings of $754,760 from 96 starters. He won 24 races last year. His  best years were 2019 (35 wins) and 2018 (34 wins). Moore historically has won about 15 percent of the time. This year, he is at 23 percent. So he is on pace to have the best year of his career.

“This year has been great so far,’’ Moore said. “Some things just go your way and the horses fit well…I’ve been on my own for nine years so I think you’re always learning.’’

Moore has 16 horses in the barn, including a tough old horse, a young potential star and a bunch of horses that are finding the wire. And 2022 is only halfway home.