Soldier's Dancer defended his title Saturday in the $250,000 Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horseman's Association President's Cup with a typically bold rally.
The Presidents Cup was the richest event on the annual Pennsylvania's Day at the Races program at Philadelphia Park.
The Presidents Cup for open grass runners was supported by four stakes for Pennsylvania-breds: the $200,000 PHBA Distaff, the $125,000 Smarty Jones Classic, the $100,000 Mrs. Penny Stakes, and the $100,000 Mr. Jenney Handicap.
Soldier's Dancer, normally a drop back closer, raced closer to the lead in the compact six-horse field. Manoel Cruz kept the 5-year-old gray gelding in striking range as R J's Brigade crawled along on the lead through fractions of 26.63 and 53.46 on the course labeled firm.
Vanquisher made a bold inside move to grab the lead turning for home but the contest was over once Soldier's Dancer, the 4-5 favorite, swung wide and kicked into gear. Trained by David Vivian, Soldier's Dancer ran the 1 1/8 miles in 1:54.89 to secure his 11th win in 31 starts.
Vanquisher was second followed by Yate's Black Cat, Interpatation, R J's Brigade, and Blues Street.
* Coastal Solace fended off Jemilyn by one length in the PHBA Distaff at seven furlongs.
A 4-year-old trained by Steve Klesaris, Coastal Solace turned in another effective performance on Philly Park's main track where she is 4-1-0 in six tries.
David Cohen moved her between rivals turning for home to seize the lead, and they gamely turned back a late charge from Jemilyn.
Coastal Solace ($8.20) ran the seven furlongs on the fast track in 1:23.29
* They have run the Smarty Jones Classic three times and Delaware River has won all three.
An 8-year-old gelding trained by Bill Campbell, Delaware River cut the final corner sharply and sprinted home an easy winner by 3 1/2 lengths over Disco T with Sweet Sugar third.
Winless in 11 races since last year's Smarty Jones, Delaware River earned his 16th win in 65 starts, paying $25.40 for the three-peat.
Frankie Pennington was aboard as Delaware River ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.74.
* Always for Love, the 3-5 favorite, rolled to a nine-length victory in the Mrs. Penny for fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the turf
A 5-year-old trained by Guadalupe Preciado and ridden by Victor Molina, Always for Love avenged a second-place finish in last year's Mrs. Penny with the dominant victory.
Never far behind pacesetting maiden Dynakrall, a 50-1 shot, Always for Love took charge three furlongs from the finish, rolling to her sixth win in 25 starts.
Easter Bonus was a distant second with Sprig of Lilac third.
The time was 1:47.19.
Billie B Quick clipped heels attempting to launch a bid on the final turn and fell, unseating Vladimir Diaz.
* El Churruca, the 3-2 favorite, beat Shouldabeenaclown by three lengths in the Mr. Jenny for grass sprinters.
Jose Flores guided the 4-year-old to his ninth win in 26 starts. Trained by Ramon Preciado, El Churruca ran the five furlongs in 59.11.