Best Beyer: Hot Rod Charlie

• The week’s highest Beyer speed figures in North America

111 Hot Rod Charlie

Parx Racing (Sept 25): Pennsylvania Derby G1, $1m, 1m1f, dirt, 3yo
Trainer: Doug O’Neill
Jockey: Flavien Prat
Owner: Roadrunner Racing, Boat Racing et al
Pedigree: 3 b/br c Oxbow – Indian Miss (Indian Charlie)
Time: 1m48.63s

After several near-misses, Hot Rod Charlie – second at the Breeders’ Cup, third in the Kentucky Derby, second in the Belmont, DQ-ed in the Haskell – finally made the G1 breakthrough in the $1m Penn Derby at Parx.

The hard-knocking son of Oxbow made all at a strong pace before fighting off the attentions of Midnight Bourbon to score by 2¼ lengths. 

The result was not without controversy as the winner drifted out a bit towards his rival as they exited the far turn, although it would be hard to argue – even under US rules – that the runner-up was materially affected.

Best Beyers of 2021

Baby Yoda 3g (Bill Mott) Saratoga, Sept 4: allowance
Flightline 3c (John Sadler) Del Mar Sept 5: allowance

Knicks Go 5h (Brad Cox) Prairie Meadows, July 2: Cornhusker G3

Hot Rod Charlie 3c (Doug O’Neill) Parx, Sept 25: Penn Derby G1
Knicks Go 5h (Brad Cox) Saratoga, Aug 7: Whitney G1

Jackie’s Warrior 3c (Steve Asmussen) Parx, Sept 25: Gallant Bob G2
Walton Street 7g (Charlie Appleby) Woodbine, Sept 18: Canadian Intl G1

Essential Quality 3c (Brad Cox) Belmont Park, June 5: Belmont G1
Mischevious Alex 4c (Saffie Joseph) Aqueduct, April 3: Carter G1

Country Grammer 4c (Bob Baffert) Santa Anita, April 17: Californian G2 (2nd)
Hot Rod Charlie 3c (Doug O’Neill) Belmont Park, June 5: Belmont G1
Knicks Go 5h (Brad Cox) Gulfstream Park, Jan 23: Pegasus G1
Mystic Guide 4c (Mike Stidham) Oaklawn Park, Feb 27: Razorback G3
Royal Ship 5g (Richard Mandella) Santa Anita, April 17: Californian G2

Beau Liam 3c (Steve Asmussen): Saratoga, Aug 29: allowance
Essential Quality 3c (Brad Cox): Saratoga, Aug 28: Travers G1
Jackie’s Warrior 3c (Steve Asmussen): Saratoga, Aug 28: Jerkens Memorial G1
Life Is Good 3c (Bob Baffert) Santa Anita, March 6: San Felipe G2
Midnight Bourbon 3c (Steve Asmussen) Saratoga, Aug 28: Travers G1 (2nd)
Midnight Bourbon 3c (Steve Asmussen) Parx, Sept 25: Penn Derby G1 (2nd)

Beau Liam 3c (Steve Asmussen) Saratoga, July 17: allowance
Cezanne 4c (Bob Baffert) Santa Anita, April 18: Kona Gold G3
Country Grammer 4c (Bob Baffert) Santa Anita, May 31: Hollywood GC G1
Domestic Spending 4g (Chad Brown) Belmont Park, June 5: Manhattan G1
Life Is Good 3c (Bob Baffert) Saratoga, Aug 28: Jerkens Memorial G1 (2nd)
Raging Bull 6h (Chad Brown) Keeneland, April 9: Maker’s Mark Mile G1
Witsel 3c (Chad Brown) Saratoga, July 17: allowance (2nd)

Top 2yo Beyers: 98 Corniche (Santa Anita, Sept 4), 93 Big City Lights (Santa Anita, May 2), 92 Concept (Remington Park, Sept 26), Echo Zula (Saratoga, July 15), Jack Christopher (Saratoga, Aug 28), My Prankster (Saratoga, Aug 21), Octane (Gulfstream Park, Sept 25)

Until end Sept 26. Turf Beyers in italics

Stranger things have happened, though, and doubtless Hot Rod Charlie’s connections feared the worst when the ‘foul claim’ was registered, given that their runner had been taken down after passing the post first in the Haskell.

History was not about to repeat itself and Hot Rod Charlie has his G1 win – and the best Beyer speed figure of his life with a formidable 111 – enough for the top five of 2021 and the highest achieved by any of those involved in the Triple Crown.

“Thank God he was clear and didn’t cause any interference,” said trainer Doug O’Neill, who is now eyeing the Breeders’ Cup Classic. You can get around 10-1 with British bookmakers about his chances in the $6m contest.

“When you have speed and stamina and class, you can do some crazy, cool things,” O’Neill added. “He displayed today that he has some special qualities that, if he stays injury free, could lead to some big stuff in November.”

There were some cracking performances elsewhere at Parx, headed by a 6¾-length romp for Jackie’s Warrior in the G2 Gallant Bob over 6f. At 1-20, he didn’t have much to beat – but he also beat the clock with a career-best BSF of 110, stepping up on the 107 achieved at Saratoga on his previous outing. The Breeders’ Cup Sprint is on the agenda.

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