2023 Cotillion Stakes & Pennsylvania Derby Recap

Racefans were seeing double at a stormy Parx on Saturday, as the two G1 features were both won from the front by an official half-length. Saudi Crown made his stakes breakthrough in the Pennsylvania Derby and could yet be a contender for the Breeders’ Cup while Ceiling Crusher brought her California form to the east coast and hit her first G1 in the 2023 Cotillion Stakes.

Breeders Cup Odds

Pennsylvania Derby, G1, $1m, 1m 1f dirt, 3yo

Saudi wears the crown

Once again it was a close-run thing, but this time Saudi Crown kept his head in front to make his stakes breakthrough in the Pennsylvania Derby at Parx on Saturday, going gate-to-wire to beat Dreamlike and longshot Il Miracolo.

On a rainy day, over a sloppy track that favored speed, Saudi Crown fulfilled the promise of his previous performances as even-money favorite. The grey colt broke on top under Florent Geroux, posted boilerplate fractions all the way around, and held a clear advantage with a furlong to run.

Dreamlike splashed down the outside to offer a threat in the final sixteenth but was never going to get there in time, and Saudi Crown picked up the money by a half-length, with Il Miracolo closest at the line in third, six lengths back.

2023 Pennsylvania Derby Race Video

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Saudi Crown wins the G1 Pennsylvania Derby #Horseracing #Horseracingtips #Horsesoftiktok #Horsetok #Sports #FYP

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“I think he’s one of the best three-year-olds in the country,” said trainer Brad Cox, winning his first Pennsylvania Derby.

Saudi Crown, three-for-five in a career that only began in mid-April, is now under consideration for the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita racetrack on November 4, and his owners are pursuing a long-term aim of the $20m G1 Saudi Cup in Riyadh in February 2024.

2023 Pennsylvania Derby Race Payouts

HorseWinPlaceShow
1. Saudi Crown4.203.002.60
2. Dreamlike7.004.80
3. Il Miracolo7.60

Winning time: 1m 50.62s

Cotillion Stakes, G1, $1m, 1m 1/16 dirt, 3yo fillies

Ceiling crushes the opposition

It was a similar scenario in the Cotillion, as west-coast shipper Ceiling Crusher led every step of the way and turned back the late thrust of favorite Pretty Mischievous and Occult to sign for her first victory at the highest level.

Conditions could not have been more alien for the 3-1 second-choice, having left the balmy temperatures of California for the first time only to encounter the wind and rain of the East Coast, but she delivered a thoroughly professional performance under Edwin Maldonado.

2023 Cotillion Stakes Race Video

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Ceiling Crusher takes the Cotillion Stakes #Horseracing #Horseracingtips #Horsesoftiktok #Horsetok #Sports #FYP

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Ceiling Crusher opened up a daylight lead at the top of the lane, and although divisional leader Pretty Mischievous rallied hard in search of her fourth successive G1 score she could not get to the front-runner, who hit the wire with a half-length in hand. Occult closed gamely from last place to take the show, a length and a quarter away.

“She’s a grinder with a huge heart and that was her Breeders’ Cup,” said trainer Doug O’Neill, as Ceiling Crusher is not nominated to the world championships, although she could be supplemented. 

2023 Cotillion Stakes Race Payouts

HorseWinPlaceShow
1. Ceiling Crusher8.604.403.20
2. Pretty Mischievous3.002.20
3. Occult3.00

Winning time: 1m 45.69s

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