Pennsylvania Derby 2021 Entries: Medina Spirit leads ten-horse field

Medina Spirit has been installed as the 2-1 favorite for the Pennsylvania Derby
Medina Spirit has been installed as the 2-1 favorite for the Pennsylvania Derby

A deep field of ten have been entered into the $1,000,000 Grade I Pennsylvania Derby on Saturday. Essential Quality may not be there as he's training up to the Breeders' Cup Classic but Medina Spirit is as are four of the top seven from the Kentucky Derby.

Neil Monnery has an overview ahead of our full handicapping of the race later in the week...

Pennsylvania Derby 2021 Entries & Post Positions
  • Post Position
  • Horse
  • Morning Line Odds

Post Position

  • 1.
  • 2.
  • 3.
  • 4.
  • 5.
  • 6.
  • 7.
  • 8.
  • 9.
  • 10.


  • Fulsome
  • Keepmeinmind
  • Speaker's Corner
  • Weyburn
  • I Am Redeemed
  • Bourbonic
  • Hot Rod Charlie
  • Midnight Bourbon
  • Medina Spirit
  • Americanrevolution

Morning Line Odds

  • 12-1
  • 8-1
  • 12-1
  • 12-1
  • 20-1
  • 12-1
  • 5-2
  • 5-1
  • 2-1
  • 15-1

Medina Spirit returns to the top-tier on Saturday as the (current) winner of the 2021 Kentucky Derby is being sent across the country to take part in the $1million Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing.

Following a failed drugs test after winning the race, trainer Bob Baffert was able to fight an initial ban to enter the horse into the Preakness but a third place finish at Pimlico saw him taken off the scene for the summer. A nice return in a very competitive Shared Belief Stakes back on the west coast saw hopes that he’d be back taking on the top three-year-olds soon and on Monday it was confirmed he’d make the trip to PA. The Morning Line surprises me as he’s been set as the 2-1 favorite, which seems short for a horse who certainly has some questions to answer.

The other top contender is Hot Rod Charlie who crossed the line first in the Grade I Haskell but was demoted for interfering with Midnight Bourbon. On that day I don’t think there is any doubt the Oxbow colt was the best horse in the field. Whether you agree with the stewards decision or not, it doesn’t take away that he ran a superb race and should be considered heavily for this race and of course the Breeders’ Cup Classic should he be entered. At 5-2, the oddsmaker sees him as a close second-choice. I really like HRC and think he should be the top choice once the pools open.

Two other top contenders are Keepmeinmind (8-1) and Midnight Bourbon (5-1). Both of whom have been there or thereabouts in several big races throughout the summer. The former went stride for stride with the outstanding Essential Quality up at Saratoga in the Grade II Jim Dandy. That was by far his most impressive outing of the year as he took on the best horse in his division and only went down in the final few strides. I’m not a huge fan of his but one of these days he will win a good race.

Midnight Bourbon got impeded in that Grade I Haskell but has three second-place finishes in his five. That includes the Preakness and the Travers. This Steve Asmussen trained son of Tiznow hasn’t won since the Grade III Lecomte in January. I wouldn’t be overly keen on playing him as the third favorite.

The wildcard choice has to be the Brad Cox trained Fulsome. At 12-1, he’s a big price but has four wins in five including down at Churchill in a decent Grade III Matt Winn. Since switching to the dirt from the turf this Into Mischief colt, he’s put together a string of strong outings and that price seems too long to me. I know this is a real step up in class but I like this one.

Another 12-1 shot who’ll attract some interest will be the Bill Mott trained Speaker’s Corner who put up a 101 Beyer in his three-year-old debut in an Allowance Race at Saratoga last month. He was spoken about as a potential Derby horse 12 months ago but a long layoff saw him miss the Triple Crown season. He’s certainly one to look at closely and a strong run will certainly set him up for future success down the road.

Wood Memorial winner Bourbonic and Gotham winner Weyburn are also 12-1 plays. I’d bypass them both. I Am Redeemed and Americanrevolution round out a deep field of ten.

Note: Following the publication of this article, Bob Baffert pulled Medina Spirit from the race citing the Post Position. Hot Rod Charlie will now be the red hot favorite.

Our man J.N. Campbell has Parx covered on Saturday so check back late on Friday for his preview of the race and all the action on the card...

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