By Byron King
The $300,000 Penn Mile (G2T), canceled in 2020 with the onset of COVID-19, returns May 28 at Penn National Race Course along with three other $100,000 turf stakes during an 11-race evening card.
Won in the past by eventual grade 1 winners Bobby’s Kitten , Catch a Glimpse , and Force the Pass , the Penn Mile drew a modest field of seven, though its 8-5 morning-line favorite, Breeze Easy’s Outadore , is likely to scratch. He is pointed toward the seven-furlong Paradise Creek Stakes May 30 at Belmont Park, trainer Wesley Ward said.
His defection should leave Annex as a short-priced favorite for the Penn Mile on grass. The 3-year-old Constitution colt won the first three starts of his career, all at Gulfstream Park, including the Palm Beach Stakes and Cutler Bay Stakes, before losing for the first time in the American Turf Stakes Presented by Derby City Gaming (G2T) May 1 at Churchill Downs. The late-rallying colt failed to challenge there as the 5-2 favorite, finishing eighth.
He has earnings of $149,280 for owners LNJ Foxwoods and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners.
Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott adds blinkers to his equipment following the American Turf in which the colt raced with his head partially cocked down the stretch.
Junior Alvarado, aboard for his three victories, returns in the irons, replacing Irad Ortiz Jr.
Annex faces a familiar foe in Chess’s Dream in the Penn Mile, who he has faced twice previously. He defeated him in the Palm Beach before finishing a length behind that rival in the American Turf when Chess’s Dream was seventh.
In the latter race, Chess’s Dream tugged at jockey Jose Ortiz down the backstretch to advance, raced outside on the second turn, and flattened out to lose by 4 1/2 lengths to Du Jour .