Handsome Mike Wins Pennsylvania Derby
Dead-heat Travers Stakes (gr. I) winner Golden Ticket was third, while Travers co-winner Alpha finished sixth as the 3-5 favorite, both shouldering 124 pounds. Handsome Mike, under a 114-pound impost and sent off as the longest shot in a field of seven sophomores, went 1 1/8 miles in a slow 1:51.63. He crossed the wire two lengths clear of West Virginia Derby (gr. II) winner Macho Macho.
In two races prior to the Pennsylvania Derby—the Aug. 18 Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) on the Arlington Park lawn and the Haskell Invitational (gr. I) on dirt at Monmouth Park—Handsome Mike ran fourth while sent off at 19-1. The son of Scat Daddy was also fourth in the Vinery Spiral Stakes (gr. III) on Polytrack at Turfway Park in March, albeit at shorter odds.
Handsome Mike previously raced for trainer Doug O'Neill, but his top assistant Leandro Mora was the conditioner this time while O'Neill concludes a 40-day suspension he began Aug. 19. O'Neill, who saddled I'll Have Another to win the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) earlier in the season, will return to training Sept. 28 at Santa Anita Park.
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