Paul Pompa Jr.'s Night Prowler, winner of the grade III Transylvania Stakes on the grass at Keeneland in his previous start, is one of 11 3-year-olds entered in the $500,000 Penn Mile (gr. IT) May 30 at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course.
The Penn Mile, inaugurated in 2013, is graded for the first time this year. The one-mile grass test highlights a five-stakes program at the central Pennsylvania track that begins at the regular start time of 6 p.m. EDT.
Night Prowler, trained by Chad Brown, is the only multiple graded-stakes winner in the field. The Giant's Causeway colt also won the Dania Beach Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park in early January to begin his 3-year-old campaign. In that race he finished a neck ahead of A Lot, who has since finished second to the impressive Divisidero in the American Turf Stakes (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs and won the Paradise Creek Stakes at Belmont Park.
In six career starts, Night Prowler has raced only on the turf and has won from distances of seven furlongs to 1 1/16 miles on firm, soft, and yielding courses. The makeup of the Penn Mile field would appear to suit his off-the-pace running style.
Javier Castellano, aboard for all three of Night Prowler's victories, has the call again at 122 pounds from post 6. He was made the 3-1 morning-line favorite in the Penn Mile.
"He's a nice consistent horse, and this will be a big step for him, but we're going to take a chance," Brown said. "I don't know if I'd call it a prep for anything. We're taking it one step at a time with this horse."
Ken and Sarah Ramsey, who won last year's Penn Mile with the Brown-trained and Castellano-ridden Bobby's Kitten , will be represented this year by the promising Kitten's Joy colt Granny's Kitten, trained by Mike Maker. Granny's Kitten broke his maiden sprinting on the grass last July, and resurfaced May 10 with a comfortable win in entry-level allowance company at Churchill in a 1 1/16-mile turf race.
Jose Ortiz will ride Granny's Kitten for the first time at 116 pounds from post 1.
The Penn Mile attracted two California shippers: the proven turf competitor Papacoolpapacool and Delta Jackpot Stakes (gr. III) winner Ocho Ocho Ocho, who finished 14th in the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) after starting from the dreaded rail position.
Cellist Racing Group and Ali Nilforushan's Papacoolpapacool, a gelding by Temple City , won back-to-back turf stakes at Santa Anita Park in his last two starts and is three-for-three since he was transferred to trainer Phil D'Amato. Elvis Trujillo has the call from post 3 at 122 pounds.
D. P. Racing's Ocho Ocho Ocho, a Street Sense colt trained by James Cassidy, will make his grass debut in the Penn Mile. He won his first three starts, including the Delta Jackpot, at 2, and then finished behind the likes of Dortmund, Carpe Diem , and American Pharoah in his three races this year.
Mike Smith has the call aboard Ocho Ocho Ocho at 116 pounds from post 4.
"I think he'll like the grass," Cassidy said. "The distance he'll like. I don't have any doubts. He's pretty keen to go. I don't see any negativity (in racing him in the Penn Mile)."
An intriguing entrant is Woody Weeks' Woodwin W, who is undefeated in four starts, the most recent being his first stakes score in the James W. Murphy Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on Preakness Stakes (gr. I) day. Trained by Jamie Ness, who has a 30% win rate at Penn National, Woodwin W won the one-mile Murphy in a sharp 1:34.32 on a firm course at Pimlico and seems poised to tackle tougher foes.
Jevian Toledo will ride the More Than Ready gelding from post 2 at 122 pounds.
The $150,000 Penn Oaks, for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on the turf, drew a field of eight including Florida Oaks (gr. IIIT) winner Quality Rocks, who is owned by Flavor Racing, Brous Stable, Wachtel Stable, and Destiny Oaks of Ocala and trained by Bill Mott. Quality Rocks, by Rock Hard Ten, in the Florida Oaks defeated Consumer Credit, who returned to win her next start. In Quality Rocks most recen start May 1, she finished second to Feathered in the Edgewood Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Churchill.
Jose Lezcano is named to ride Quality Rocks at 122 pounds from post 2. The filly is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the Penn Oaks.
Penn National Race Course, Saturday, May 30, 2015, Race 4
- 3 yo
- 7:22 PM (local)
|1||1Granny's Kitten (PA)||Jose L. Ortiz||116||Michael J. Maker||-|
|2||2Woodwin W (KY)||Jevian Toledo||122||Jamie Ness||-|
|3||3Papacoolpapacool (KY)||Elvis Trujillo||122||Philip D'Amato||-|
|4||4Ocho Ocho Ocho (KY)||Mike E. Smith||116||James M. Cassidy||-|
|5||5Comanche's Storm (FL)||Rosemary B. Homeister, Jr.||116||George S. Bush||-|
|6||6Night Prowler (KY)||Javier Castellano||122||Chad C. Brown||-|
|7||7High Noon Rider (KY)||Eddie Castro||116||George Weaver||-|
|8||8Force the Pass (KY)||Joel Rosario||122||Alan E. Goldberg||-|
|9||9My Point Exactly (FL)||Juan C. Leyva||122||William A. Kaplan||-|
|10||10Tuba (KY)||Kerwin D. Clark||116||Anne P. Smith||-|
|11||11Gallery (LA)||Jose Lezcano||116||Michael Dini||-|
Penn National Race Course, Saturday, May 30, 2015, Race 1
- 3 yo Fillies
- 6:00 PM (local)
|1||1Red Sashay (KY)||Jose L. Ortiz||122||Jane Cibelli||-|
|2||2Quality Rocks (FL)||Jose Lezcano||122||William I. Mott||-|
|3||3Prize Exhibit (GB)||Mike E. Smith||116||James M. Cassidy||-|
|4||4B Rockett (NY)||Kendrick Carmouche||116||Victoria H. Oliver||-|
|5||5Pangburn (KY)||Joel Rosario||116||Kenneth G. McPeek||-|
|6||6Lady Bling (NY)||Elvis Trujillo||116||David G. Donk||-|
|7||7Strict Compliance (FL)||Javier Castellano||116||Chad C. Brown||-|
|8||8Gypsy Judy (KY)||Horacio Karamanos||116||Robin L. Graham||-|