Lady Shipman goes about her business in The Very One
On a wet day at Pimlico, dazzling turf sprinter Lady Shipman went about her business registering a 2 1/4-length victory as the 2-5 favorite in the $100,000 The Very One going five furlongs on Saturday's Preakness undercard.
Saddled with post 12, the four-year-old Midshipman filly broke a tad slow but was still able to secure a decent trip stalking in third a couple of lengths behind Everything Lovely. Heading that rival passing the quarter pole, Lady Shipman soon took over and outclassed her rivals to the wire in a time of :57.85 on good ground.
Owned by Ranlo Investments, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and ridden by Joel Rosario, Lady Shipman paid $2.80.
"She's such a star and can handle good, soft, firm [turf]," McLaughlin said. "The post position, 12 of 12, wasn't ideal but it worked out great. Everything's good.
"We don't really have a plan. This race was a little quick back. Because she was doing so well we decided to take a shot. We'll just have to look ahead. I'm not sure what we'll do next."
An Eclipse Award finalist last season for champion female sprinter following a strong second in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G1), Lady Shipman has now won stakes at Gulfstream, Belmont, and Pimlico from four outings this term. A trip to Dubai for the Al Quoz Sprint (G1) resulted in a seventh-place finish.
A year on from American Pharoah's romp in the Preakness (G1), Justin Squared brought Zayat Stables and trainer Bob Baffert back to the Pimlico winner's circle following the $100,000 Chick Lang.
Under Martin Pedroza, the gray three-year-old by Zensational set modest fractions of :23.01 and :46.17, opened up a four-length lead in midstretch and held on to win by two lengths over Counterforce in a time of 1:11.41 on the muddy main track. The 4-5 favorite paid $3.60.
"He's an extremely fast horse. We're just going to slowly try to get him to the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1). He's ridiculously fast," Baffert said.
"I loved Chick Lang. You'd get here and he'd tell you the history. He loved the horses and he loved the horsemen," Baffert added. "Fortunately, this is the second time we've won it. It was for the Zayats, too. It's good to see those colors back in the winner's circle here."
Justin Squared is undefeated from three starts after earlier wins in a maiden at Del Mar last September and in an allowance at Los Alamitos April 21. He's now earned $129,600.
Baffert was back in the winner's circle one race later when 13-10 favorite American Freedom re-rallied to overtake the rail-skimming Voluntario and win the $100,000 Sir Barton by a length.
On or near the pace throughout under Florent Geroux, American Freedom yielded the lead to Voluntario in midstretch, but proved best the 1 1/16-mile race for three-year-olds that had not previously won a stakes.
Owned by Gary and Mary West, American Freedom finished up in 1:44.85 and paid $4.60. Second choice Dazzling Gem finished third.
A debut winner in the slop at Santa Anita April 9, American Freedom was favored at 7-5 in the Pat Day Mile (G3) at Churchill Downs on the Kentucky Derby undercard, but never factored in a sixth-place effort.
"Last time I think he just got away bad and they went really fast that day. I just told Florent to be aggressive and get him into it," Baffert said.
"I felt a lot of pressure because Gary and Mary West are really great clients and they let me run this horse back in two weeks. He's a really good horse and I wanted to get him another race. I was so disappointed that he got beat last time. We've always been really high on this horse. Today it looked like he was almost done and he came back. Hopefully, he'll have a great summer."
The son of Pulpit has now earned $96,100.
Marengo Road stalked the early pace from third, seized control in upper stretch and held off a late surge from favorite Aquaphobia to take the $100,000 James W. Murphy for three-year-olds on the turf.
Owned by Harry and Tom Meyerhoff LLC, trained by Michael Trombetta and ridden by Julian Pimentel, Marengo Road paid $33.80 after completing one mile on the turf in 1:39.04
Hero of the $74,000 Miracle Wood at Laurel in mid-February, the Murphy marked Marengo Road's first turf outing since a maiden-breaking score last September.
"He runs well on all surfaces, although I may keep him on the grass after this performance," Trombetta said. "I don't have a plan for him but like I said I will likely try to keep him on the turf."
A son of Quality Road, Marengo Road has now earned $182,060 from a line of 10-4-2-0.
(Jessie Holmes/EquiSport Photos)