We’re just over a week away from the running of the 146th Kentucky Derby. It has been a long time coming after getting pushed back from May to the first Saturday of September. Churchill Downs was intending on having fans in attendance initially, and then they cut it to limited attendance.
However, now the public isn’t going to be allowed. One of the principal reasons for pushing it back was to give people an opportunity for fan access. The coronavirus also complicated the prep racing circuit, so those had to be rescheduled as well, thus having to push back the Kentucky Derby to September.
All of the points are tallied for the Kentucky Derby, so there is no more wiggle room for teams looking to get into the big dance. There isn’t much in the way of big time racing at Penn National Race Course, but as usual, there are a lot of races. The backstretch is busy at Penn National during the summer.
I’m not familiar with the overall betting handle at Penn National during this meet, but it can’t be too bad. There are 11 races at Penn National Race Course, with a total of $165,600 available. Head below for our free Penn National Race Course picks for August 28, 2020.
Post Time: 6:00 p.m. EST
Distance: 1 Mile 70 Yards
Penn National gets their racecard started around 6:00 p.m. EST. There is a 20% chance of rain, so weather shouldn’t be an issue. Race 1 features a mile and 70 yards on the turf for a $18,800 purse. This is one of the bigger races of the day at Penn National Race Course. Alleria and Dynamic Miss should be tough competitors for the rest of this field. Alleria has finished in the top-2 in 4 of her previous 5 races, and top-3 in 6 out of 7 outings.
Overall, Alleria is 1 for 8 in her career, with a win on October 13, 2019 at Laurel Park. She won by 2 ½ lengths over Art Thief for a $22,000 purse. After that win, Alleria finished 4th and 2nd, with a nice effort to place on July 12. Alleria fell short by ¾ lengths for a $32,000 purse. She is more than capable of doing one better and getting into the winner’s circle. Aleria will face tough competition from Dynamic Miss.
Dynamic Miss has placed in 3 of her previous 4 outings. In her previous two outings, Dynamic Miss has placed 2nd on June 27 and July 27. She lost by 1 ¼ lengths for a $26,180 purse in June, and then came back a month later to lose by a neck at the wire. Dynamic Miss swung wide at the first turn and had to make it up going into the stretch. She made up for it and just missed out. If she avoids falling too far behind early like in that performance, Dynamic Miss should make out well on Friday.
Post Time: 8:10 p.m. EST
Race 6 will take place after 8:00 p.m. EST, probably closer to 8:30 p.m. EST. We are on the dirt for Race 6, which covers 6 furlongs. Rio Abajo and Konkie should be in the mix in the stretch in this event. Konkie went seven straight races without placing 2nd or winning, but was able to finish 2nd on July 10 for a $11,800 purse. Prior to that effort, Konkie went 5th, 5th, 6th in tougher assignments. He’s staying in this class after getting a neck away from a win on July 10.
Rio Abajo takes a big trip down in class after finishing 9th on August 5. However, Rio Abajo has been more successful in lower classes, and has even proven to be solid in a higher grade race than Rio Abajo is being assigned today. Rio Abajo won by a half length over Dreaming of Love in February. That was for a $18,800 purse. And prior to that win, Rio Abajo came close in a $18,800 event to lose by a length on January 17.
In the previous race where Rio Abajo bombed in to finish 9th, he was noted as having stopped on the track. He didn’t break well out of the gate and was never a factor in the race. There was no reason to urge him on and tire him out. That can happen from time to time, but it’s not to say Rio Abajo isn’t worthy of competing against the competition in Race 6 today. This is one of the easiest races of his career. It would be disappointing for his connections if he can’t dispatch the field.
Post Time: 9:28 p.m. EST
For our third and final pick at Penn National Race Course, we arrive at Race 9 later in the night. This event will cover 6 furlongs on the dirt for a $13,600 purse. Expect a competitive race between Calculated Thinkin and Intercept in this one. Both horses have been in good form recently and should present bold bids on Friday night.
Intercept has had a fairly successful career with 8 wins in 32 races. He is a winner in 2 of his last 3 races, with victories on January 3 and February 8. Intercept won a $13,600 event in January by a length over Calculated Thinkin. Calculated Thinkin was the favorite over Intercept in that race. The kick that everyone expected from Calculated Thinkin in the stretch just wasn’t present on that day.
Intercept followed up for 4th in a tougher $18,100 race on January 22. However, he was able to respond with a nice effort to win a $19,000 race by a head on February. Since then, Intercept has been on a layoff. He’s recorded workout times of 1:01.50, 1:03.30, and 1:01.40 at 4 furlongs. Calculated Thinkin will be out for revenge today, and after his most recent three performances, his connections must be feeling confident.
Calculated Thinkin is coming off a hat-trick with three wins from March, July, and most recently August 1. I was on Calculated Thinkin for that race, which he won by 1 ½ lengths over Downhill Racer. He won prior to that with a 4 ¾ length and 1 ¼ length win. He’s finished in the top-2 in 6 of his previous 7 entries. Based on recent form, Calculated Thinkin should get his revenge today.