Just a day to go before the Preakness, which means it's time for Black-Eyed Susan Day at Pimlico. Below is a quick preview of the stakes action today at Old Hill Top.
I'll be at Pimlico all day today; you can follow my at @PressthePace on Twitter for pictures and assorted worthless commentary in 140 characters or less... or something like that.
Race 6 - The Skipat
6 furlongs, Dirt
3yo and up, Fillies and Mares
Bold Affair rolls into the Skipat after a couple of strong races at Laurel and Pimlico in her last two starts. She's solid at the track (4-3-0-1) and she loves the trip (8-4-1-2) and should be a tough customer for the rest of this field to handle.
Race 8 - The Miss Preakness
6 furlongs, Dirt
Millionreasonswhy was third in her last start at Aqueduct but there's no disgrace finishing five lengths behind Broadway's Alibi in the G3-Comely. Her back class, ability to sit a length or two off of the lead, and her strong speed figures makes this filly the one to beat in the Miss Preakness
Say a Novena appears to be just a notch below the class of Millionreasonswhy but she's run well this year, even if she's failed to score a win in either of her Gulfstream starts.
Ageless is a nice looking lightly raced filly from the barn of Leigh Delacour that comes into this race off a couple of easy wins against MdSpWt and Allowance company. A daughter of Successful Appeal, Ageless should have a nice career in front of her but will find this a tough spot to bring home a third straight victory.
Agave Kiss rolls into this race a perfect five for five in her career, including a score in the G3-Cicada at Aqueduct back on March 10th. She's posted 90+ Beyers in four of her five starts and she's yet to race behind another horse at any time in her career. She's the one to catch out of the gate.
Race 9 - Jim McKay Turf Sprint
5 furlongs, Turf
3yo and up
Maryland bred Ben's Cat appears to fit into this turf spring as well as any horse in the field. He's absolutely loves going five panels on the grass (8-6-1-0) and he's run well over the Pimlico lawn in the past (4-2-0-0). In his last start, he finished a hardluck 6th after encountering all kinds of trouble in the early stages. He should be able to bounce back in this race and has to be considered one of the prime contenders for win honors. Of course, it's a turf sprint, so what do I know?
I like Fiddlers' Patriot as kind of a sleeper pick in this race for George Weaver. Fiddlers Patriot hasn't raced since the G1-Nearctic at Woodbine last October but he definitely possesses the back class to run with this field. Last June he finished second by a nose in the G2-Hilander. He's been fairly productive as a shipper over the course of his career and Weaver does well with horses coming off the bench. Could be a sneaky play in this spot.
Race 10 - G2-Black-Eyed Susan
1 1/8 miles, Dirt
It's tough to ignore Welcome Guest in this spot after she ran a good second to Broadway's Alibi in the Comely. Probably a good idea to check out how Millionreasonswhy performs earlier on the card sicne this filly finished a length and a half in front of Millionreasonswhy.
Mamma Kimbo is going to take a lot of action at the windows after she rolled home in the G2-Fantasy after setting a solid pace. Her speed figures are quite strong and she appears to relish running over a route of ground. There isn't a ton of early speed in this race; Mamma Kimbo could be very hard to beat if she gets loose on the lead.
Race 11 - The Very One
5 furlongs, Tuf
3yo and up, Fillies and Mares
Really? Another turf sprint? I might be hitting the "all" button by this point on the card.
Jazzy Idea comes into the Very One in excellent form after back-to-back victories at Pimlico and Belmont. She's only finished out of the top 3 twice over her last ten races she'll get a nice jockey upgrade in Ramon Dominguez in this race.
Inspired didn't have the best of trips in the Giant's Causeway at Keeneland but she's been in good form all spring once her connections got her back on the grass. She possesses a lot of gate speed and is capable of taking this field gate-to-wire.
Race 12: G3-Pimlico Special
1 3/16Miles, Dirt
3yo and up
The return of the Pimlico Special has attracted an excellent field of older males
Endoresement was a bright star just a couple of years ago as a three-year-old before injuries slowed down his development. He returned to the track last October after an absence of a year and a half, and has finally worked himself back into stakes-quality form. In his most recent race, he won the G3-Texas Mile at Loen Star after a rough start and a bit of a wide trip. This will be the longest race of Endoresement's career but he's bred to love the extra ground (by Distorted Humor out of an AP Indy mare (Charmed Gift)).
Nehro made a nice return to the track when he won an $17k OC race at the Fair Ground in late February but he appears to be a little over his head when finishing 6th in the G2-Oaklawn Handicap on April 14th. To be fair, Nehro didn't get a very good trip at Oaklawn, racing wide through much of the race, but he still appears to be just a cut below this group at this point in his development.
Mission Impazible always seems to give a good account of himself, no matter the level of competition he is facing. Unfortunately, he just doesn't win races very often. He's a must use in the eotics but I'm leery of any win bets tossed in his direction.
Alternation has been on absolute fire lately, winning three straight races, including the G2-Oaklawn Handicap and the G3-Razorback. On the downside, Alternation is a horse that has thrived at Oaklawn Park in his career but has failed to find that same success on at other tracks. He's obviously a legitimate contenders to win this race but it's hard to feel completely confident.
Race 13: The Hilltop
1 1/16 Miles, Dirt
I love the look of Bill Mott's Anna Sophis in this race as she's been a much improved filly once she moved to the grass and got more ground to cover. This filly ahs a big closing kick but probably won't have a ton of pace to run at.