08/28/2003 11:00PM

Dynever Pa. Derby favorite


Philadelphia Park had hoped to attract at least one or two of the season's premier 3-year-olds by boosting the purse of the Pennsylvania Derby to $750,000, a healthy $250,000 raise.

But that wish basically evaporated when Peace Rules, a horse who trainer Bobby Frankel had said might run in the Pennsylvania Derby, had to pinch-hit for ailing stablemate Empire Maker in last weekend's Travers at Saratoga.

So the biggest names among the 10 entered Friday for Monday's Grade 3 Pennsylvania Derby were Dynever and Toccet.

Dynever, coming off a near miss against the unbeaten Soto in the West Virginia Derby, was made the track's morning-line favorite at 2-1. Toccet, a two-time Grade 1 winner at 2 whose 3-year-old campaign didn't begin until less than two weeks ago, was listed as a close second choice at 5-2.

The field for the 1 1/8-mile race also includes Domestic Dispute, unraced since finishing 10th in the Kentucky Derby; the lightly raced Grand Hombre, unbeaten in three starts while posting triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures each time; and Tafaseel, who most recently finished fourth behind Strong Hope and Empire Maker in the Jim Dandy at Saratoga.

Dynever, who drew post 7 and will be ridden by Edgar Prado, is coming off the best effort of his career. He was beaten only a neck by Soto in the Aug. 9 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Park, earning a 114 Beyer. Trained by Christophe Clement, Dynever has won two stakes this season, including the Grade 3 Lone Star Derby.

Toccet was one of last season's top 2-year-olds, winning four graded stakes, highlighted by the Champagne and the Hollywood Futurity, both Grade 1's.

An injury kept Toccet out of the Triple Crown series and sidelined him until Aug. 19, when he won an overnight stakes at Philly Park, earning a 102 Beyer. Toccet will break from the rail with Jorge Chavez.

The remainder of the Pennsylvania Derby field with riders and morning-line odds: Christine's Outlaw, Ramon Dominguez (12-1); Valleyman, Joe Rocco (20-1); Tafaseel, Richard Migliore (5-1); Grand Hombre, Joe Bravo, (6-1); Max Forever, Jose Ferrer (15-1); Ashmore, Anthony Black (12-1); Domestic Dispute, Corey Nakatani (12-1); and Gimmeawink, Rodrigo Madrigal Jr. (8-1).

The Pennsylvania Derby will be the 11th race on a 12-race program that includes two other stakes, the $100,000 Pennsylvania Oaks for 3-year-old fillies and the $75,000 Steve Van Buren for filly and mare sprinters.