Will Take Charge: upstaged more fancied rivals to win the Travers StakesPICTURE: Jessie Holmes/EquiSport Photos
Will Take Charge and Moreno set to clash again
Preview: USA, Saturday 10.45pm BST
Parx (Philadelphia): Pennsylvania Derby (Grade 2) 1m1f, dirt, 3yo
AFTER a Travers Stakes thriller that ended in acrimonious circumstances, Will Take Charge and Moreno go back into the ring for round two in the Pennsylvania Derby at Parx on Saturday night.
Moreno (Eric Guillot/Jose Ortiz) was allowed to set easy fractions up front as he attempted to make all in Saratoga's 'midsummer derby', only to get collared close to the wire by Will Take Charge (D Wayne Lukas/Luis Saez), who made a dramatic late surge to score by a nose.
Controversy reigned a few days after the race, however, when Moreno's trainer Eric Guillot alleged that Will Take Charge's jockey Luis Saez had used an electrical device, known as a battery, in the closing stages of the Travers. The investigation is said to be ongoing, according to the New York Gaming Commission.
The winner's connections strenuously denied such charges, but let there be no doubt there is a simmering subtext not far beneath the surface of Saturday's $1 millon event in Philadelphia.
With a 2lb pull, Moreno has a few other factors in his favour as he attempts to turn the tables. The Penn Derby is a furlong shorter than the Travers, and Will Take Charge has drawn the outside post in an eight-runner field whereas Moreno ought to be able to dominate from gate three.
The field also includes the Godolphin pair Romansh (Tom Albertrani/Rajiv Maragh) and Transparent (Kiaran McLaughlin/Irad Ortiz), fifth and ninth respectively in the Travers. Transparent adds first-time Lasix.
New York shipper Battier (Todd Pletcher/Angel Castillo) and Fury Kapcori (Jerry Hollendorfer/Mike Smith) represent dangerous connections. The latter in particular has chances here on his third run after an injury layoff.
Ladbrokes: 5-2 Will Take Charge, Moreno, 5 Fury Kapcori, 6 Java's War, 8 Speak Logistics, 16 Transparent, Romansh, 20 Battier
Also on Saturday
Parx: Cotillion Stakes (Grade 1) 1m½f, dirt, 3yo fillies (10.10pm BST)
The second $1m event at Parx features a clash between a pair of top dirt fillies in Sweet Lulu and Close Hatches.
Sweet Lulu (Jerry Hollendorfer/Julien Leparoux) signalled her arrival in the big time in no uncertain terms when landing the Grade 1 Test at Saratoga, where she was well-backed to take her unblemished record to four against an accomplished-looking group.
Now she stretches out in trip after that 7f contest against opponents headed by Juddmonte's Close Hatches (Bill Mott/Mike Smith), who must concede 7lb to her main rival. The only filly to beat Kentucky Oaks winner Princess Of Sylmar this season, she took the Grade 1 Mother Goose by seven lengths on her most recent outing.
Delaware Oaks winner Dancing Afleet (Tim Ritchey/Alex Cintron) and My Happy Face (Chad Brown/Javier Castellano), regularly placed in Grade 1s, also take their chance.
Ladbrokes: 7-4 Close Hatches, 3 Sweet Lulu, 5 My Happy Face, 10 Seaneen Girl, 12 Carnival Court, 14 Asiya, 20 Flash Forward, Dancing Afleet, Promise Me More, Street Girl
Belmont Park: Gallant Bloom Hcap (Grade 2) 6½f, dirt, 3yo+ f/m (10.17pm BST, live on ATR)
Ballerina Stakes winner Dance To Bristol (Ollie Figgins/Xavier Perez), who has streaked to the top of the female sprint division this term, bids for her eighth straight win in this Breeders' Cup prep.
The four-year-old must overcome a couple of hurdles if she is to extend her winning spree as she breaks from the outside in a nine-runner field in which she concedes a few pounds to each of her rivals in this $300,000 contest.
They are headed by Godolphin's Grade 1 winner Dance Card (Kiaran McLaughlin/Junior Alvarado), running for the first time since landing the Gazelle at Aqueduct in November, and Holiday Soiree (Todd Pletcher/John Velazquez), who is Grade 1-placed. Cluster Of Stars (Steve Asmussen/Javier Castellano) is unbeaten in five at Aqueduct.
Ladbrokes: 7-4 Dance to Bristol, 11-4 Cluster of Stars, 5 Dance Card, 7 Holiday Soiree, 10 Villanesca, Classic Point, 20 Munnings Sister, 33 Crespano, 50 Defy Gravity