Longshot play in Dixie Stakes
Ironicus brings a strong finishing kick to Saturday’s Dixie Stakes, the 12th race at Pimlico, and I’ll take a stab at the four-year-old in a wide-open race.
The scratch of probable favorite War Correspondent could hurt his price (15-1 morning line), but Ironicus shouldn't be one of the favorites. He’s been handled deliberately by trainer Shug McGaughey, making his last five starts against allowance rivals, and this isn't an imposing spot for his stakes debut.
A contested pace appears highly possible in the 14-horse field and Ironicus’s ability to finish is appealing, with triple-digit BRIS Late Pace ratings in three of his last four outings. He’s got the right connections, with McGaughey winning at a 22% clip in graded stakes and a white-hot Javier Castellano arguably the nation’s top turf rider with a gaudy 26% success rate.
After missing by a half-length after a ridiculously wide trip last time, Castellano will be able to save ground from post 2 aboard Ironicus, who hails from a very classy female family. The gray son of Distorted Humor is a half-brother to four stakes winners and noted mares Wild Applause and Glowing Tribute are also found on his pedigree page.
I’m not sold on any his rivals as strong win candidates and one of my favorite betting angles involves horses stepping up in good form – the public tends to overlook due to false class concerns.
Ironicus rates as a live longshot -- I’ll play him to win and place, as well as keying him in daily doubles with American Pharoah, Dortmund and Danzig Moon (2 with 1,2,4) in the Preakness Stakes.