Godolphin Racing will send out the favorites in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) and $1 million Cotillion Stakes (gr. I) Sept. 22 at Parx Racing when Alpha and Questing attempt to follow up their respective victories in the Travers Stakes and Alabama Stakes (both gr. I). Both are trained by Kiaran McLaughlin.
The 1 1/8-mile Pennsylvania Derby will serve as a rematch of the Travers, in which Alpha and Golden Ticket dead-heated for the win, while the 1 1/16-mile Cotillion—upgraded to grade I status for the first time since being run at Liberty Bell Park in 1973-74—will pit Questing, runaway winner of the Alabama and Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) against the undefeated 2-year-old filly champion My Miss Aurelia.
Also on the card is the $300,000 Gallant Bob Stakes, which has attracted major stakes winners Currency Swap, winner of the grade I Hopeful Stakes and grade II Amsterdam Stakes, and Trinniberg, winner of the grade II Woody Stephens and grade III Bay Shore and Swale. The son of Teuflesberg also was second in the Hopeful.
In the Pennsylvania Derby, which drew a field of eight, Alpha (post 4) and Golden Ticket (post 6) will both carry 124 pounds and concede from two to 10 pounds. Carrying 122 will be Macho Macho, winner of the West Virginia Derby (gr. II). From California comes the Paul Reddam-owned Handsome Mike , fourth in both the Haskell Invitational (gr. I) and Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT).
Nick Zito will be represented by Robert LaPenta's Casual Trick, winner of his last two starts at Parx, both allowance races.
Alpha once again will be ridden by Ramon Dominguez, while David Cohen will be aboard the Kenny McPeek-trained Golden Ticket.
The Cotillion drew only four horses, even though there is a $30,000 payoff for finishing fifth. Questing is coming off a spectacular nine-length victory in the Alabama, in which she earned a 106 Beyer speed figure. My Miss Aurelia, winner of the grade I Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and Frizette Stakes last year, won her only start in 2012, the 6 1/2-furlong Mandys Gold Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.
Also in the short field is John Oxley's Dixie Strike, winner of the Prince of Wales Stakes, the second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, run at Fort Erie. The daughter of Dixie Union also finished third in the Queen's Plate (Can-I).