Frank Carulli: Penn National All-Stakes Pick 4 Ticket | Friday, June 2, 2023

A field of eight 3-year-olds are entered in the $400,000 Penn Mile Stakes this Friday, June 2. The Grade II turf test will be part of an all-stakes, Pick 4 sequence covering races 5 through 8. Only two favorites have won since the race received graded status in 2015 and only one winner went wire-to-wire. Here’s a look at the action with a suggested $21 play.

PROMO ALERT: Bet $50+ each on both Penn National and Belterra Park on Friday, June 2 to receive a $20 Bonus! More details coming soon.

RACE 5 (7:10PM ET) - $150,000 PENN OAKS
3YO Fillies - 1 Mile (Turf)

ROYALTY INTEREST beat a field of mid-60 Beyer types as a debut favorite at Tampa Bay Downs, but the way the 3-year-old filly looked doing it makes her a solo play in the $150,000 Penn Oaks to lead off the Pick 4. She accelerated 4-wide on the final turn, drew off with an eye-catching stretch burst and was in full flight on the gallop out. PRINCESS BETTINA arrives from California after she changed tactics and went wire-to-wire in the $100,000 China Doll Stakes at Santa Anita. She is a proven miler with two wins and a pair of troubled thirds at the distance and can adjust back to off-the-pace tactics with the speedy HIDEWRIGHT AWAY in the field. VIOLET GIBSON ‘surged’ to win in her 7-1/2F debut on the Gulfstream Park lawn, then rallied for third in a one-mile stakes after the top two finishers floated 6- and 7-wide in the stretch.

RACE 6 (7:45PM ET) - $400,000 PENN MILE (G2)
3YO - 1 Mile (Turf)

MAJOR DUDE won two long distance, graded stakes on soft footing, while the remaining runners in the Penn Mile are seeking their first. He foiled CANDIDATE’S bid for four wins in a row in the G-III Kitten’s Joy Stakes and defeated three next-out stakes winners in the process. He then ran second to Kentucky Derby runner-up Two Phil’s and missed in a photo-finish against stakes-winning grass miler Webslinger. CANDIDATE has been gelded since their most recent matchup, breezed 5F in 1:01 and change twice recently and changes riders for the fourth time in seven starts. BEHIND ENEMY LINES saved ground under a snug hold in the $100,000 Cutler Bay stakes at 7-1/2F, inhaled the leaders coming into the stretch and edged away under right-handed urging while drifting wide. RECRUITER won at four tracks, four surfaces (fast, good, muddy, sloppy) and at five distances in his first six starts. He used his speed to defeat short fields by a combined 18-1/2 lengths but couldn’t keep up with a fast pace in his lone graded stakes try. His sire’s offspring are 4-20 in turf routes but his dam was 0-3 on the lawn, beaten a combined 62 lengths.

RACE 7 (8:15PM ET) - $100,000 DANZIG STAKES
3YO - PA-breds - 6 Furlongs (Dirt)

GORDIAN KNOT raced 4-wide throughout after a slow start and battled gamely when he suffered his first loss in four starts in the Pennsylvania Nursery at Parx last November. He tried the turf to no avail in his seasonal debut, but remains the one to beat off a six-week series of strong workouts. KEITHSENDSHELLOOOO finished 2 lengths behind Gordian Knot twice and settled for minor awards at the expense of multiple stakes winners Flor de Sombra and Ninetyprcentmddie – who are a combined 8-15 with $560k in earnings – so he deserves a long look off a :48 breeze from the gate in his most recent prep.

RACE 8 (8:45PM ET) - $100,000 NEW START STAKES
3YO Fillies - PA-breds - 6 Furlongs (Dirt)

TAPPIN JOSIE is a deserving favorite with a 6-for-12 record, a bankroll almost as big as the rest of the field combined and a projected ideal stalking trip. But with room to spare on the Pick 4 ticket, hit the ‘ALL’ button in the final leg.

RACE 5 - 9
RACE 6 - 2, 7, 8
RACE 7 - 1, 7
COST - $21.00

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