Race Preview: Pimlico Special – Pimlico, May 17, 2013
The Pimlico Special has a rich history with winners like War Admiral, Seabiscuit, Citation, Cigar, Skip Away, Mineshaft and Real Quiet. When it was one of the top races for older horses in the country the purse was $750,000. It’s “only” worth $300,000 now and is looking to gain some momentum having been run for back-to-back years for the first time since 2005-2006. This year’s race drew a field of seven led by Eightofasttocatch.
Eighttofasttocatch won his last race, a small stakes race at Pimlico, by five lengths, which gave him 12 wins in 41 career starts. The seven-year-old gelding has won over $600,000, but has not fared well in graded stakes in the past. He was fourth in the General George at Laurel in February 2012 and was ninth in the Pimlico Special last year.
The two graded stake winners in the field are Richard’s Kid and Last Gunfighter, with Last Gunfighter preferred to take down the purse.
Last Gunfighter is the actual morning line favorite at 7-5 off the strength of his five straight wins. This will be the first time he has run out of New York since he was trained by Helen Pitts in early 2012. Now in the barn of Chad Brown, Last Gunfighter won the Grade 3 Excelsior over the inner dirt at Aqueduct two months ago. From post seven, jockey Javier Castellano can get a feel for the early pace and then pounce late. He may have to sit closer if Eighttofasttocatch gets an easy lead unless Brimstone Island puts pressure on that one early. Those are the only two confirmed front-runners.
Richard’s Kid is bit of an anomaly and has been since he was privately purchased and moved to trainer Doug O’Neill. The eight-year-old gelding is a two-time Grade 1 winner with earnings over $2.3-million. Unfortunately, most of that was for trainer Bob Baffert. Since the move to O’Neill, Richard’s Kid has run nine times with only four thirds to show for it. In his last start, the Grade 2 Alysheba, Richard’s Kid finished eighth, beaten over 15 lengths. Not sure which horse shows up on Friday and there has to be questions whether there is enough pace for him to run into.
The bigger question is whether or not to single Last Gunfighter or use him and Eighttofasttocatch as those appear the only ones on paper who have a shot.
Tomorrow we tackle the final piece of the late pick-4, the Grade 2 Black Eyed Susan where Emollient is out to prove she is just as good on dirt as she is on synthetics.
Post time for the Pimlico Special is 5:52 pm ET.