09/13/2012 1:34PM

Parx Racing: Stormy Lord, Cantonic figure to battle start to finish in PTHA President's Cup

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Alyssa Spakowski/Equi-Photo
Stormy Lord will try to defend his 2011 President's Cup title.

Stormy Lord and Cantonic, who are a combined 3 for 3 over the turf course at Parx Racing, could go head to head from gate to wire when they clash in Saturday’s $250,000 Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association President’s Cup.

The 5-year-old Stormy Lord, who shipped in from Woodbine to upset last year’s President’s Cup at 9-1, figures to be a far shorter price when he defends his title in the 1 1/8-mile turf race. He is dropping in class and cutting back in distrance off a runner-up effort, beaten three-quarters of the length, in the Grade 2 Sky Classic at 1 1/4 miles.

Stormy Lord’s chances may be compromised by the horse who will start from just to his inside in post 6, Cantonic. Both horses prefer to run close to or on the lead.

The 5-year-old Cantonic has reeled off four consecutive victories for trainer Mike Maker. Eight of his last nine starts have come in starter allowance events, primarily those restricted to horses who have run for $10,000 or less. He comes out of a win in a $50,000 optional claimer. The 91 Beyer Speed Figure that Cantonic earned for his latest victory matches the number Stormy Lord was awarded last time out. Both horses were assigned 113 pounds.

The fight for the lead could become a three-way battle with the presence of another Woodbine invader, Kara’s Orientation. The winner of the 2011 Sky Classic as a front-runner, Kara’s Orientation most recently gave way grudingly to finish third, earning an 89 Beyer in a second-level optional $62,500 claimer.

The 10-horse field, which includes the coupled entry of 20-1 outsiders Achilles Quest and Nibiru’s Return, has two Monmouth Park shippers in Roman Tiger and Freud’s Honor, plus the recently claimed E Z Led, who spent the spring and summer racing in Southern California.

Roman Tiger was sharp early this season, when he won the Grade 3 Tampa Bay and Tampa Bay Turf Classic in back-to-back starts. His form soured in three summer starts, however. Roman Tiger’s off-the-pace style would benefit from a contested pace.

Freud’s Honor cuts back to the distance of his last victory following consecutive fourth-place finishes in the Grade 1 United Nations and the listed East Hanover.

E Z Led, winless in five starts on turf, comes back east after being claimed for $32,000 on Aug. 11 at Del Mar. His last victory came in a first-level allowance restricted to Pennsylvania-breds on the dirt at Penn National in November.