By Tom LaMarra
The top three finishers in the Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup are among the 12 entered in the grade III, $200,000 Parx Dash, the third of five MATCH Series stakes in the 3-Year-Olds and Up Sprint–Turf Division.
The Parx Dash at five furlongs on the grass is one of two MATCH events July 7 at Parx Racing; the other is the $100,000 Turf Amazon, a five-furlong stakes that is the third of five in the Filly and Mare Sprint–Turf Division.
Mary Eppler Racing Stable and Christopher Ramos’ Oak Bluffs, currently at the top of the division with 15 points, won the June 2 Governor’s Cup by three-quarters of a length over Pewter Stable’s Dubini. Colts Neck Stables’ Pool Winner was only a neck behind in third.
Oak Bluffs, trained by Mary Eppler and to be ridden by Paco Lopez, is the only Parx Dash entrant that has started in the two previous division races. The 8-year-old New Jersey-bred gelding finished third behind then-undefeated Imprimis in the Jim McKay Turf Sprint at Pimlico Race Course May 18.
Imprimis passed on the Parx Dash to run in the grade I Highlander Stakes at Woodbine June 30 and finished sixth after a troubled trip. He remains second on the MATCH division leader board, however.
Dubini, trained by Parx-based Kate Demasi, raced extremely well in the Governor’s Cup at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in his first start of 2018. The 5-year-old gelding has raced only nine times with four wins and two seconds, all on the grass.
Patricia Generazio, the breeder of Oak Bluffs, owns Pure Sensation, who was nominated to the Governor’s Cup but instead raced a week later in the grade II Jaipur Stakes at Belmont Park. The 7-year-old gelding finished third, beaten only a length, after leading for most of the way in the six-furlong turf stakes.
Trained by Christophe Clement, Pure Sensation is four-for-five at Parx with multiple stakes wins and looms the favorite for the Parx Dash in his third start of the year.