11/19/2012 1:58PM

Penn National: Graded winner San Pablo looks strong in Swatara

Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
San Pablo won the Grade 3 Iselin at Monmouth earlier this season.

Three other stakes support the $200,000 Fabulous Strike on Wednesday night at Penn National, and they make up the first three legs of an all-stakes pick four that ends with the feature race.

The pick four kicks off with the $75,000 Blue Mountain for 2-year-old Pennsylvania-bred fillies, and is followed by the $100,000 Swatara for older horses going 1 1/16 miles, and the $100,000 Daylily for female sprinters.

[PENN NATIONAL: Get PPs, watch pick four preview video]

Trainer Todd Pletcher has the potent uncoupled entry of San Pablo and Rule ready to run in the Swatara (race 2). Rule, winner of the Grade 2 Monmouth Cup, is more likely to run in Saturday’s Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct, however.

But Pletcher still has a big shot with San Pablo, a 4-year-old whose best races this season include a win in the Grade 3 Iselin at Monmouth Park and a nose loss in the Grade 3 Excelsior at Aqueduct. He will be looking to rebound after finishing ninth in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup on Sept. 29.

“He didn’t fire his best shot in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, but he was probably closer to the pace that day than he needed to be with those fractions. He has had time to adjust and can hopefully get back to his best form,” Pletcher said.

The eight-horse lineup also includes Norman Asbjornson, second in last year’s Swatara and beaten 1 3/4 lengths by San Pablo in the Excelsior; Win Willy, a Grade 2 winner last season who comes off a 4 3/4-length win in a restricted stakes at Delaware Park; and Rush Now, runner-up in last season’s West Virginia Derby and winner of an overnight stakes at Parx last time out.

◗ Nicole H figures to be a solid choice in the six-furlong Daylily (race 3). Four of her six opponents are cross-entered in other races at Parx and Laurel, so the Daylily field will likely shrink by post time.

Nicole H won the $100,000 Endine last time out at Delaware and missed by a half-length in the Grade 1 Princess Rooney at Calder in early July.

◗ Trainers Steve Klesaris, T. Bernard Houghton, and Butch Reid each has an uncoupled entry in a wide-open field of 11 2-year-old fillies for the six-furlong Blue Mountain. Of that group, the best may be Kelwynne, an easy debut winner for Klesaris at Parx on Oct. 22; Classy Coco, winner of the Maryland Million Lassie for Houghton; and Cittadina, who exits an off-the-pace win in a first-level allowance at Parx for Reid.

◗ The Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission has approved Penn National’s request for 200 days of live racing in 2013 – three more than 2012. The track will race Thursday through Saturday in January and February, then expand by adding Wednesdays from March through December. The commission also approved the expansion of superfecta wagering for all races with at least six betting interests.