05/31/2017 3:47PM

California shippers Big Score, Cistron among 10 for Penn Mile

Keeneland/Coady Photography
Big Score won the Grade 3 Transylvania Stakes in April.

The fifth running of the $500,000 Penn Mile at Penn National Race Course on Saturday evening is an East/West affair as two of the top choices, Big Score and Cistron, were flown in from Southern California on Wednesday. They will take on eight rivals, including two each from the barns of Mike Maker, Todd Pletcher, and George Weaver.

The Maker horses, Shiraz and Prize Fight, and the Pletcher-trained Bonus Points will race as a Three Diamonds Farm-owned entry, meaning there will be eight betting interests.

The Penn Mile, a turf race for 3-year-olds, will be run as a Grade 2 for the first time this year. The 11-race card, which begins at 3:45 p.m. Eastern, has six supporting stakes - three open $200,000 races and three $100,000 stakes for Pennsylvania-breds.

There are five stakes winners in the field but Big Score, who races for George Krikorian and is trained by Tim Yakteen, is the only graded stakes winner in the Penn Mile. He was up late to win the Grade 3 Transylvania at Keeneland in April, and most recently, finished third, beaten a length, in the Grade 2 American Turf at Churchill Downs.

"We'll bring him home after the Penn Mile and train him for the Belmont Derby if we get invited," Yakteen said.

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Force the Pass won the Penn Mile and Grade 1 Belmont Derby at 1 1/4 miles in 2015.

Big Score drew post 8. Javier Castellano will ride him for the third straight time.

Cistron, who won the Northern Spur Stakes on dirt at Oaklawn Park for trainer John Sadler, has good early speed. Paco Lopez will be aboard from post 4.

"He's very versatile," Sadler said.

The other stakes winners in the group are Bronson, who won the English Channel at Gulfstream Park for Pletcher; Parx Derby winner Bonus Points; and Frostmourne, who won the Awad at Belmont Park as a 2-year-old for Christophe Clement.

Bronson will start from the rail under Tyler Gaffalione. Bonus Points has post 7 and John Bisono. And, Frostmourne will break from the outside under Irad Ortiz Jr.

Although not a stakes winner, the George Weaver-trained Holiday Stone set the pace in the Transylvania and was not reeled in until deep stretch by Big Score. Holiday Stone drew post 6 and will be ridden by Luis Saez.

The field is completed by Shiraz, post 2; Time to Travel, post 3, Edgar Prado; Mo Maverick, post 5, Feargal Lynch; and Prize Fight, post 9.

Kendrick Carmouche is named on both Shiraz and Prize Fight, who are trained by Maker.

Also on the card:

$200,000 Pennsylvania Governor's Cup: Richard's Boy, who won the Jim McKay Turf Sprint at Pimlico two weeks ago for trainer Peter Miller, has traveled home to California and back for this five-furlong grass race, which has drawn a field of nine.

$200,000 Mountainview: This 1 1/8-mile main-track race, which drew a field of six, will match Matt King Coal, Virtual Machine, Page McKenney, and Madefromlucky.

 $200,000 Penn Oaks: Favoritism in this mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies could come down to the Graham Motion-trained Party Boat, winner of the Memories of Silver at Keeneland, and Adorable Miss, who won the Honey Ryder at Gulfstream Park for Pletcher.

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