Winchell has a strong hand with Midnight Bourbon, Silver State at Parx – Horse Racing News


Assistant coach Scott Blasi trains Midnight Bourbon in the paddock in preparation for the Million Dollar Pennsylvania Derby (GI) at Parx Racing in Bensalem, Pa. Photo by Nikki Sherman / EQUI-PHOTO.



Midnight Bourbon of Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC, second pick on the morning line 3-1, will look for his first Grade 1 victory in Saturday’s $ 1million Pennsylvania Derby, and comes in after missing the win by a neck in the Grade 1 Travers at Saratoga.

Multi-ranked winner Silver State, owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC and Willis Horton Racing, will look to start another winning streak in the $ 200,000 Parx Dirt Mile after the end of its six-game winning streak in Grade 1 Whitney in Saratoga.

Coached by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, the two appear to be strong contenders according to Winchell Racing Manager David Fiske.

“I think both places are really good for them,” said Fiske. “The two-corner mile for Silver State should set it up for the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Midnight Bourbon, he keeps knocking on the door. I think he’ll drop one eventually. He’s a really cool horse. Great personality. I saw a little video of him educating himself in the paddock yesterday. Dude, he looked like something else.

Midnight Bourbon started the year with a win in the Grade 3 Lecomte at Fair Grounds, then added a third place in the Grade 2 Risen Star, also in Louisiana.

Next comes a second place finish in the Louisiana Derby before finishing sixth in the Kentucky Derby.

The Tiznow colt then added a second place in the Preakness, before cutting heels with Hot Rod Charlie in the stretch race at Grade 1 Haskell and losing jockey Paco Lopez.

“I hope Saturday will be his turn,” said Fiske. “It’s been a special year. Most years, the field for the Kentucky Derby evaporates the day after the Derby. This year we had Essential Quality, Midnight Bourbon, Hot Rod Charlie, Medina Spirit – even if he scratched – he continues. There are a lot of them and they are all quality foals.

When it comes to Midnight Bourbon, Fiske knows this:

“He’s a cool horse,” he said. “He seems to show up every time. He ran well in the Preakness, ran well in the Travers, ran well in the Derby. He’s just a nice customer. He’s a very energetic guy. You have to be on your guard around him all the time.

Silver State finished her 3-year-old with a seventh place finish in the Louisiana Class 2 Derby, then returned the following year with a seven-length victory over the allowance competition at Keeneland. From there the son of Hard spun added three more wins before returning to face the high-stakes competition where he won the Rank 2 Oaklawn Handicap and the Rank 1 Metropolitan Handicap

“It’s unusual for a horse to win so many races in a row,” said Fiske. “We had a horse a long time ago that won an Eclipse Award named Tight Spot. He won eight in a row. Then we had a little horse that ran fourth in the Derby [1981 Kentucky Derby] named Classic Go Go that Tony Black piloted. He won seven in a row. One of them was actually in the old Keystone Park. He would win a race on Saturday and then win a race at Keystone on Thursday. He made 26 starts at the age of 3. Do the math on that.


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