07/12/2012 1:07PM

Parx: Three Brooklyn Handicap winners meet in Greenwood Cup

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Tom Keyser
Birdrun nearly tosses jockey Rajiv Maragh at the start of the Brooklyn Handicap last month. Birdrun, the 2011 Brooklyn champ, is one of three Brooklyn winners in the Greenwood Cup on Saturday at Parx Racing along with Redeemed and Eldaafer.

Three past winners of the Grade 2 Brooklyn Handicap will test their prowess at the rarely run dirt distance of 1 1/2 miles in Saturday’s Greenwood Cup at Parx Racing. Even though 2009 Brooklyn winner Eldaafer and 2011 Brooklyn champion Birdrun have shown they can win at the demanding Greenwood Cup distance, it’s hard to look past reigning Brooklyn kingpin Redeemed.

The 4-year-old Redeemed, a 10-length winner over Eldaafer in last month’s Brooklyn at Belmont Park, is the even-money favorite on the Parx mornng line for the $300,000 Greenwood Cup.

Elevated to Grade 3 status for the first time, the Greenwood Cup also is part of the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In series, guaranteeing the winner a berth in the Nov. 3 Breeders’ Cup Marathon. Last year’s third-place Greenwood Cup finisher, Afleet Again, went on to upset the BC Marathon at 43-1.

Redeemed, based in New York with trainer Richard Dutrow Jr., dominated the Brooklyn and a 1 1/8-mile overnight stakes at Belmont with his speed and is expected to be on or near the lead again Saturday. He earned a career-best 105 Beyer Speed Figure for his Brooklyn victory. Ramon Dominguez will come in from New York to retain the mount.

About the only knock on Redeemed is a stat that shows Dutrow runners coming off a career Beyer top in graded stakes after a break of 31 to 60 days are just 1 for 12. The notable exception is 2008 Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown.

Birdrun finished second in last year’s Greenwood Cup, but was awarded the victory after A.U. Miner was disqualified. He went on to finish second in last fall’s BC Marathon. Birdrun was a distant second to Redeemed on a sloppy track in early May, then lost all chance in the recent Brooklyn when jockey Rajiv Maragh lost an iron at the break.

The 7-year-old Eldaafer will be coming back just one week after finishing last of seven in the Grade 1 United Nations on turf. He is winless in seven starts dating back to last September.

Win Willy, the second choice on the morning line at 3-1, tops the eight-horse Greenwood Cup field in earnings with $867,127. He will be racing beyond 1 1/8 miles for the first time in his 23-race career. Winner of the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap in April 2011, Win Willy is 1 for 4 since then. That victory came in an overnight stakes at Delaware Park going 1 1/16 miles.