Skippylongstocking Will Wait for Pennsylvania Derby


Photo: Coady Photography
Skippylongstocking wins the West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort

Twelve 3-year-old Thoroughbred names were on the list of nominations for the $1.25 million Runhappy Travers (G1) at Saratoga Race Course.

Daniel Alonso's Skippylongstocking  was not one of them.

Winner of the Aug. 6 West Virginia Derby (G3) in his last start, Skippylongstocking was initially considered for a run in the Midsummer Derby. However. After thinking it through, trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. decided the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (G1) at Parx Racing Sept. 24 was the way to go.

There, he is likely to face Runhappy Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner and Haskell Stakes (G1) runner-up Taiba , trained by Bob Baffert.

Skippylongstocking, a son of Exaggerator  , won his first graded stakes race in the West Virginia Derby. Before that start, he had finished third in the Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1), fifth in the Preakness Stakes (G1), and third in the Wood Memorial Stakes Presented by Resorts World Casino (G2).

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"Timing-wise, it worked out a lot better," Joseph said outside his barn on the backstretch Aug. 17. "Obviously, the Travers is coming up tough. We were definitely tempted, even before the West Virginia Derby. We would be running back in three weeks, and we'd by 15-, 20-1. It made more sense to go to the Pennsylvania Derby."

Joseph won the 2019 Pennsylvania Derby with 31-1 longshot Math Wizard . It was the first grade 1 win for Joseph.