2023 Penn Mile & Penn Oaks Odds and Betting Picks

Friday 2nd June is the biggest night of racing at Penn National as the Pennsylvanian track hosts two high quality races in, the G2 2023 Penn Mile and Penn Oaks.

Headlining Friday’s card and boasting a $400,000 prize pool, the Penn Mile is the race that everyone will be looking forward to. The most prestigious race held at the track each year, eight horses will head down to post with Major Dude being positioned as the slim favorite from the other highly fancied horse in the race, Candidate.

Belmont Stakes Odds

Twice a Stakes winner, including a success in the 2023 Kitten’s Joy Stakes, Major Dude will be hoping to get back on the winning trail following an impressive third place finish in the 2023 Grade 2 American Turf Stakes last time out.

Although it will play second fiddle on the night, the Penn Oaks is another ultra-competitive contest that will see nine horses head down to post. Todd Pletcher will be hoping for a fantastic Friday, the trainer of the much-fancied Major Dude in the Penn Mile, Pletcher also trains the favorite in this contest, with Princess Bettina having her first run for the stable.

An impressive winner last time out in the 2023 China Doll Stakes, big things are clearly expected and under the new tutelage of her expert trainer, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her run another big race.

Penn Mile

Grade 2, 1 mile, Turf, open to three-year-old horses. Total prize pool: $400,000

A field of eight will canter down to post for this year’s renewal of the Penn Mile. An intriguing looking race, it is Major Dude who has been positioned as the narrow favorite.

Boasting a 40% strike rate when it comes to racing on the turf and a former graded winner, his performance last time out in the Grade 2 American Turf Stakes was impressive despite only being able to finish third. He has been knocking on the door of some big races and another graded victory looks to be more than possible here.

Looking to renew old rivalries is the Arnaud Delacour trained Candidate. This will be the third time that Candidate and Major Dude have locked horns, with each finishing ahead of the other on one occasion. Candidate got the better of Major Dude back in January when a good winner of the 2023 Dania Beach Stakes, but Major Dude would get his revenge in the Kitten’s Joy.

With the two closely matched, realistically either horse has a great chance of victory here, but Candidate will need to run a whole lot better than when finishing sixth last time out in the 2023 Transylvania Stakes.

In a race that looks to be loaded, other horses to keep an eye on could be Behind Enemy Lines, Tuskegee Airmen and Recruiter.

Behind Enemy Lines has one win from his three turf starts and was a good winner of the 2023 Cutler Bay Stakes. Although he finished behind Major Dude in the American Turf Stakes, his connections will believe that form can be overturned, and he could be one of the better value angles of the race.

Tuskegee Airmen will be having his first start on turf and just the fourth run of his career. Whilst he looks to have something to find, he is arguably the rawest horse in this field and with improvement likely, he could be one to keep an eye on.

The same can be said of Recruiter. Boasting a perfect one for one record on the turf, the majority of his wins have come at a much lower level than this. A winner of four of his first five career starts, including a win in the 2022 James. F Lewis III Stakes, that form stacks up well and he could rate as an outside danger.

Movisitor, Fletcher and Upstate and Back, round out the field with all three needing to produce something special to win in this field.

2023 Penn Mile Odds & Betting Pick

In what looks to be a great contest, it is hard to look beyond the top two in the betting. Whilst Major Dude certainly isn’t a prolific winner, he has been racing at a high level for a while now and is the class angle of this field. Under the guidance of Todd Pletcher, we think he should just have enough class to hold off Candidate and Behind Enemy Lines.

HorseJockeyOdds by Jazzsports
MovisitorAdam Beschizza+1500
Major DudeIrad Ortiz+160
FletcherJeiron Barbosa+2000
Upstate and BackTyler Connor+3000
RecruiterJorge Ruiz+600
Tuskegee AirmenFrankie Pennington+600
Behind Enemy LinesFlavien Prat+500
CandidateTrevor McCarthy+250

Penn Oaks

Stakes, 1 mile, Turf, open to three-year-old fillies. Total prize pool: $150,000

A field of nine has been declared for this year’s Penn Oaks, with the betting at the top of the market looking very competitive.

Leading the way is the Todd Pletcher trained Princess Bettina who will be making her first start for the barn.

Boasting an impressive 50% strike rate with two wins from her four turf starts, she heads into the race following a dominant performance last time out in the 2023 China Doll Stakes. A performance that smacked of a high-quality horse, there is much excitement ahead of her debut run for her new barn. If she turns up in a similar vein, she should be hard to beat.

Hoping to cause Princess Bettina problems will be the Chad Brown trained Royalty Interest. Having raced just once in her career, her debut was a winning one where she won her maiden easily. Clearly getting the hang of things late, her debut win was highly promising and there could be plenty more to come.

Positioned just behind the top two in the betting is likely to be the trio of Malleymoo, Violet Gibson and Metaphysical.

Malleymoo started her racing career out in Ireland but since moving to the States has struggled to back up her debut win. Now winless in her last four, her Irish form still stacks up, but she will need to produce her best run since moving to America if she is to be successful in this tight looking contest.

Violet Gibson will be having just her third start of her career but could be scratched before the race. If she runs, she has shown enough to be competitive in a race of this nature, but with fitness concerns she could be one to stay clear of.

Metaphysical has the most experience in this field but has just one win on turf. Winless in her last four starts, she finished ahead of Malleymoo in the Grade 3 Sweetest Chant Stakes but will need to produce a much better performance if she is to be competitive.

Rounding out the field is Selenaia, Hidewright Away, Majestic Creed and Miss New York. With all four horses starting as double figure prices, the most likely to pull off the upset could be the Jonathan Thomas trained Selenaia.

A winner of her two career starts on the turf, both of those wins have come at a much lower level than this, but the nature of those performances can’t be doubted. Her connections will be hoping she can make the step up and she could be the best long-shot option of the race.

2023 Penn Oaks Odds & Betting Pick

In what looks like a fascinating contest it looks likely that both Princess Bettina and Royalty Interest look will be the two horses to beat. Although Princess Bettina’s experience can’t be discounted, the nature of Royalty Interest’s maiden win was super impressive. Unexposed and with room to improve, she is our selection at a decent price.

HorseJockeyOdds by Jazzsports
Violet GibsonTyler Connor+800
Hidewright AwayJeiron Barbosa+1500
MalleymooTrevor McCarthy+800
Majestic CreedMychel Sanchez+1200
Princess BettinaFlavien Prat+180
MetaphysicalJavier Castellano+800
Miss New YorkSamy Camacho+1200
SelenaiaIsaac Castillo+1000
Royalty InterestIrad Ortiz+250

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