10/28/2014 12:28PM

Jerardi: Four Penn Challenge winners entered for BC


Four winners of the first 15 races in the Penn Gaming Racing Challenge are among the horses entered for the Breeders’ Cup races Friday and Saturday at Santa Anita.

Imperative, 26-1 when he upset Game On Dude in the $1.5 million Charles Town Classic on April 19, will be in the gate for the $5 million Classic on Saturday. The horse was claimed for $50,000 last December by trainer George Papaprodromou. Imperative has won only once since the claim, but it was the right one. The 4-year-old was second in the San Antonio Stakes, just behind Game On Dude. He also was third in the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita and Grade 1 Pacific Classic, five lengths behind BC Classic favorite Shared Belief. Imperative has won more than $1.25 million since the claim. Moreno, third in the Charles Town Classic behind Imperative, also is in the Classic field.

Pants On Fire, trained by Kelly Breen, won the Wild and Wonderful on Charles Town’s Race for the Ribbon card Sept. 20. He is entered in the Dirt Mile on Friday after getting a 106 Beyer Speed Figure in his win at Charles Town. Pants On Fire is by Jump Start, who is stabled with Smarty Jones at Northview Stallion Station’s Pennsylvania division.

Two winners from the May 31 Penn Mile Day are entered in Saturday’s Turf Sprint.

Bobby’s Kitten, who won the Penn Mile impressively, finished third in last year’s Juvenile Turf as the favorite. The colt has not won since the Penn Mile and has never raced at a distance shorter than a mile, but nobody has ever questioned the talent of the Chad Brown-trained colt.

Two races before Bobby’s Kitten won the Penn Mile, Tightend Touchdown won the Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup for the second consecutive year. This time, they will be in the same race. Tightend Touchdown finished in a dead heat for second in last year’s Turf Sprint, just a half-length behind two-time winner Mizdirection. Trainer Jason Servis lost Tightend Touchdown for $30,000 on Dec. 27, 2012, and immediately claimed him back for $35,000. Since then, the horse has four wins, six seconds, and a third in 12 races, with earnings of more than $550,000.

The Challenge includes more than 20 stakes at Penn Gaming tracks – Charles Town, Penn National, Sam Houston, and Zia Park. Owners, trainers, and jockeys who participate are eligible for bonuses, prizes, and trips to Penn National Gaming’s M Resort in Las Vegas.

Other BC connections

Delaware Handicap winner Belle Gallantey had raced 36 times before this year, with just four wins. She is 5 for 7 this year, with earnings of $851,400, after being claimed for $35,000 last December by Rudy Rodriguez. The 5-year-old runs in the $2 million Distaff.

Before upsetting the Arlington Million, Hardest Core won an allowance race at Parx and the Cape Henlopen at Delaware Park. He trains at his owner’s farm in Coatesville, Pa., for trainer Eddie Graham.

The winners of Parx Racing’s two $1 million races from Sept. 20 will get serious play in the Friday and Saturday finales. Cotillion winner Untapable appears quite live in the Distaff with Beholder out of the race. Pennsylvania Derby winner Bayern was dazzling at Parx, breaking a 40-year-old track record. How he does in the Classic will be all about the pace. If he is clear early, he is very dangerous. If he is not clear, history suggests he won’t be close at the finish.

Close Hatches won the 2013 Cotillion before running second in the Distaff. She was unbeaten this year before that bizarre finish in the Spinster. It will be interesting to see how she is bet in the Distaff.

Bombs away at Laurel

I don’t think I have ever bet on an 86-1 shot, much less cashed on one. Start Puffing paid $175.60 when she won the eighth race at Laurel Park last Friday. I did not have her.