Annex, Chess’s Dream Meet Again in Penn Mile


The $300,000 Penn Mile (G3T), 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 $149,200 for owners LNJ Foxwoods and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners.

Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott adds blinkers to his equipment following an 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 .


“I thought he ran a credible race in the American Turf. Jose said he was forced to move early and got carried out wider than he would have liked to have gone,” trainer Mike Maker said.

Owned by Michael Dubb, Steven Bouchey, Bethlehem Stables, and Chester Bishop, the son of Jess’s Dream   won the Kitten’s Joy Stakes (G3T) this winter in Florida. He will be ridden Friday by Kendrick Carmouche.

Gershwin , Original , The King Creek, and Sibelius  complete the field. Of that group, only Original has experience on turf.

Gershwin (Distorted Humor  ) is a half brother to Dubai World Cup Presented by Emirates Airline (G1) winner Mystic Guide . Like Mystic Guide, he is a Godolphin homebred trained by Mike Stidham.

Maker also has starters in the three supporting stakes on the Penn Mile card, including the sister race to the Penn Mile, the $100,000 Penn Oaks. In that race, also over a mile on turf, he stretches out Three Diamonds Farm’s Amalfi Princess  from sprints.

“It’s something we have wanted to try for a while. I don’t have any reason to believe she won’t handle a mile,” Maker said. “She’s run well on turf before.”

Amalfi Princess, a grade 3-placed daughter of Temple City  , is the 2-1 second favorite on the morning line behind Jim Bakke and Gerald Isbister’s Honey Pants , a Christophe Clement trainee who has twice run second in stakes races, plus in a recent allowance optional claimer at Gulfstream Park.

Friday’s stakes are the first four races on the card, which begins at 6 p.m. ET. Post time for the Penn Mile is 7:46.

Entries: Penn Mile S. (G2T)

Penn National Race Course, Friday, May 28, 2021, Race 4

  • Grade IIT
  • 1m
  • Turf
  • $300,000
  • 3 yo
  • 7:46 PM (local)

Entries: Penn Oaks

Penn National Race Course, Friday, May 28, 2021, Race 3

  • STK
  • 1m
  • Turf
  • $100,000
  • 3 yo Fillies
  • 7:02 PM (local)

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