• 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)
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 ▼
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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