By Dick Jerardi
The final Saturday before the annual August break at Parx was a day-long showcase for the breeding program in Pennsylvania. It was only fitting that the performance of the day on “PA’s Day at the Races” came by a son of the greatest PA-Bred of them all.
That would Someday Jones, a son of Smarty Jones, in the Roanoke, one of five $100,000 stakes on the 12-race card that had $1,122,150 in total purses. I ran into John Servis the next night at Sperry’s in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where he was having dinner with his dad Joe, brother Jason and Jason’s wife Natalie.
John was not only thrilled with Someday Jones’ dominating 6 1/4-length win (career-best 99 Beyer Speed Figure), he was equally thrilled that his son Tyler won the $100,000 Dr. Teresa Garofalo Memorial with Afleet Tizzy, and thankful brother Jason decided to scratch Monongahela from the Roanoke to run him in the Grade I Whitney the same afternoon at Saratoga. Someday Jones might have been able to beat Monongahela, but it would not have been nearly as easy as it turned out to be.
It was not only a great day at Parx; it was also a great day for Parx 250 miles north of the track. That was 2018 Pennsylvania Derby winner McKinzie winning the Whitney in style and stamping himself as a major contender for Horse of the Year. About 2 1/2 hours before the Whitney, Parx fan favorite Pure Sensation, who has completely dominated the Parx Dash and Turf Monster in recent years and likely will be back to defend his Turf Monster title on Labor Day, chased a crazy pace (20.82, 43.01, 54.26) in the Troy before settling for third in a 5 1/2 furlong race that was timed in a course record 1:00.23.
The Uptowncharlybrown phenomenon continued when his son Midtowncharlybrown beat his younger full brother, Midnightcharly, by a neck in the Banjo Picker Sprint at Parx. Both horses are trained by Eddie Coletti who has found racing gold with the offspring of Pennsylvania’s hottest young sire.
The two grass stakes at Parx went to overwhelming favorite Imply in the Mrs. Penny and longshot Hollywood Talent in the Marshall Jenny Handicap. Imply, who trains at Penn National for Bernie Houghton, was the only non Parx-based horse to win one of the stakes.
Hollywood Talent was expertly managed by trainer Carlos Guerrero who got the horse to peak after just one race in a year, an off-the-grass way-back finish on July 27. In his first race for Guerrero, Hollywood Talent had finished third in the 2018 Jenny, beaten by just 1 length at 8-1. This time, Hollywood Talent, just a week after his comeback race, won the Jenny by a nose at 12-1.
The Parx card, with all 12 races for Pennsylvania-Breds, was so attractive to the large crowd at the track and simulcast bettors that the total handle was $2,178,509, nearly as much as Laurel Park and Delaware Park combined.