Dirt stakes spot plays for Pimlico on May 15
A total of nine stakes races, led by the $1 million Preakness S. (G1), highlights a blockbuster day of racing at Pimlico on Saturday. The undercard features four stakes races on the dirt and an additional quartet on the grass, and I will take aim on the main oval events in this piece.
Race 1 -- Sir Barton S.
Sophomores will go 1 1/16 miles in the opener. The Bob Baffert-trained #4 Hozier (2-5) will be awfully tough to knock off at short odds to get the day started. Rebel S. (G2) runner-up never fired in the Arkansas Derby (G1) in his latest outing, but he has trained well since and takes a massive class drop for his Pimlico debut. Joel Rosario will guide the Pioneerof the Nile colt.
Brittany Russell’s #6 Dream Big Dreams (15-1) ran his best race to date when breaking his maiden most recently, and I will use the son of Bandbox to complete the exacta. The gray Maryland-bred finished fast at one-mile at Laurel, and the gray will appreciate the added ground on Saturday.
Race 3 -- Chick Lang S. (G3)
Trainer Steve Asmussen’s duo of #4 Jaxon Traveler (4-5) and #2 Mighty Mischief (5-2) seem poised to run one-two in some order in the heat. The once-beaten standouts will be close to each other inside the final furlong.
#5 Shackled Love (20-1) is the longshot that I will use in my vertical wagers. Private Terms S. winner cuts back from two route outings, and he should be moving well late to grab a minor share.
Race 9 -- Skipat S.
Eight fillies and mares will dash six furlongs in a very good edition of the race. The unbeaten #5 Chub Wagon (8-5) has never been headed from five lifetime tries for Preciado, but she gets a real class test in this affair. The four-year-old will face serious early pressure from her inside and outside, and I am going to try and snap her impressive win streak.
#2 Casual (9-2) ran into a few superb customers at Oaklawn Park in her last two appearances and rates a solid chance with her best on this occasion. Chestnut daughter of Curlin boasts a 3-2-0-1 mark at the distance, and I expect her to get a swift early pace to rally into turning for home beneath Santana.
Race 11 -- Maryland Sprint S. (G3)
The six-furlong sprint attracted a well-matched field of 11 in a really good betting endeavor. Mike Maker’s #8 Special Reserve (9-2) comes off a sharp runner-up performance in the Commonwealth S. (G2) at Keeneland behind subsequent Grade 1 victor Flagstaff, and he could move forward third time off the claim. The gelded son of Midshipman has elevated his game since removing blinkers three back, and his early speed will allow him to avoid any traffic issues under Irad.
#6 Threes Over Deuces (20-1) has some appeal as an exotics player in the cast for Capuano. The one-run closer possesses an excellent turn of foot, and he could be dangerous late in a field with an abundance of pace signed on.