05/28/2013 1:01PM

Dick Jerardi: Penn Mile probables include Rydilluc

Tom Keyser
Rydilluc finished fourth on Polytrack in the Blue Grass Stakes, but would be returning to his best surface, turf, if he runs in Saturday night's $500,000 Penn Mile at Penn National.

As Penn National gets set for the first $1 million night in its 40-year history, there are varying levels of interest in the six stakes, including the $500,000 Penn Mile for 3-year-olds on the grass.

Entries for Saturday’s card will be taken Wednesday, but more than 50 horses were nominated to the Penn Mile, including the winners of seven of the eight graded stakes on grass for 2-year-olds in 2012 and 3-year-olds in 2013.

The Penn Mile will be the fourth race (approximate post 7:22 p.m. Eastern) on the 10-race card that also features the $250,000 Mountainview Handicap and the $150,000 Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup. The first four races, all stakes, will constitute an early pick four.

[MID-ATLANTIC RACING: Complete DRF coverage, weekly video previews]

Rydilluc, so good in Florida on grass this past winter for trainer Gary Contessa before running strongly on the lead in the Blue Grass Stakes, is one of the likely race favorites. The horse almost did the impossible in the Blue Grass, battling for the lead and surviving. But the deep closers eventually ran him down. As fourth-place finishes go, it was about as good as it gets and the kind of effort that should set up him nicely for the first Penn Mile.

Two of the better Penn Mile nominees are from trainer Chad Brown’s barn, Noble Tune and Balance the Books, second and third in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. Two Kentucky Derby horses, Vyjack and Charming Kitten, are among the nominees.

The Mountainview got 40 nominees, including 20 graded stakes winners.

The 40th Governor’s Cup got more than 40 nominations, including the winners of the race the last three years – Kyma, the ageless Chamberlain Bridge and the amazing Ben’s Cat.

Chamberlain Bridge was a nose short of winning a stake on the Kentucky Derby undercard while Ben’s Cat got up in time to win a stakes on the Black-Eyed Susan Day card.

The three other stakes on the card will be the $50,000 Penn Dash for 3-year-olds and up going five furlongs, and two $60,000 six-furlong races, the E Dubai HBPA and the Silver Train HBPA, for Pennsylvania-bred or Pennsylvania-sired horses.

Spicer Cub runs straight

There were no antics from Spicer Cub on May 25 at Pimlico. After his YouTube classic on April 13 when he bolted twice, ran between the starting gate and the outside rail and closed to just miss, Spicer Cub was a little scary for his trainer. And probably jockey Xavier Perez, as well. Turned out there was no problem as the horse ran second to 2-5 favorite Tru Greek.

“I had trouble sleeping last night,” trainer Mary Eppler said. “I am relieved, very relieved. I told X Man that if he did do anything crazy to pull up. I wanted to make sure everybody was safe.”

Esporon wins seventh straight

It will take a while to catch Rapid Redux, but the 6-year-old gelding Esporon is on quite the roll at Charles Town. The horse has won seven straight. The streak began on Dec. 14. He won again on Dec. 21 and then has won a race every month in 2013. The first race was at 6 1/2 furlongs, the last six at 1 1/16 miles. David Wells (yes the man who trained Rapid Redux to the 22-race winning streak) had Esporon for the first five races of the streak. Timothy Grams claimed the horse for $25,000 and has won the last two. The horse was just 5 for 28 lifetime before the streak began.

Bisono on top at Parx

Jockey John Bisono had a terrific 2012 with 107 wins and $3.7 million in mount earnings. He is poised to do even better in 2013 as we close in on the halfway point of the year. He has 71 wins and nearly $2 million in earnings. He has been in front of the rider standings at Parx all year and has a 10-win lead over four-time Parx riding champ Kendrick Carmouche as May comes to an end.

Delaware: Smith, Cintron start fast

The Delaware Park meeting has just begun so early starts might not hold. All the wins count, however. Trainer Kenny Smith and jockey Alex Cintron are really hot. Smith won with half of his first 10 starters while Cintron was 8 for 24 after the first week. When you are talking 50 percent for a trainer and 33 percent for a jockey, you are really talking.