BENSALEM, Pa. -- This was supposed to be a salute to Smarty Jones, a run on his home track before a rapturous crowd at Philadelphia Park.
Instead, Tapit, the Wood Memorial winner in April, is the 2-1 morning line favorite for tomorrow's $750,000 Pennsylvania Derby.
Tapit finished ninth at the Kentucky Derby, where Smarty Jones began his captivating run in a Triple Crown bid that fell short at the Belmont Stakes. Smarty Jones had been pointing toward the Pennsylvania Derby before retiring last month because of sore hooves.
Tapit will be ridden by Ramon Dominguez and share the high weight of 122 pounds in the field of 12. Pollard's Vision, the Illinois Derby winner, is listed at 3-1 and will also carry 122 pounds for the mile and a furlong allowance race.
Saratoga's leading jockey, John Velazquez, will give up his mounts on the last day of the Spa's meeting to ride the colt named after Red Pollard, rider of the great Seabiscuit. Like Pollard, Pollard's Vision is blind in his right eye.
Tapit will break from the outside gate while Pollard's Vision will start from the No. 8 hole.