Pimlico: Handicapping the all-stakes Pick 5 for April 24
The Saturday racing at Pimlico is a stakes-laden card that should yield a number of starters for Preakness weekend (May 14-15) at Old Hilltop, and the latest forecast suggests the chances of rain have diminished for the Baltimore area. That's good news, as a number of stakes on Saturday's program were scheduled for the turf and likely will stay on.
Here's how we'll play the all-stakes Pick 5:
Race 7: Frank Y. Whiteley S., 3:58 p.m. ET
#9 Eastern Bay (6-1) was going very well off the claim by Claudio Gonzalez last season, until he threw a head-scratching clunker in the latest renewal of this event a mere five months ago.
Proven off the bench, he'll reunite with jockey Angel Cruz, who was aboard for this veteran's best runs last fall, in the Polynesian S. and a tough beat in the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G3) over this track.
Although lacking in credible stakes form and a bit of an all-or-nothing type, #1 Factor It In (8-1) looks fast enough to compete with his best and enters with a string of solid works this month for a high-percentage barn.
Race 8: Henry S. Clark S., 4:31 p.m. ET
The two morning-line choices, #4 Pixelate (5-2) and #7 Eons (3-1), will take a useful drop in class. The former captured the Del Mar Derby (G2) last summer and was beaten only three lengths by Colonel Liam in the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1). He finished behind that rival again last time out, in the Muniz Memorial (G2).
Eons, another graded veteran, has the advantage of experience, with a win over the Pimlico turf in 2019.
Race 9: Weber City Miss S., 5:04 p.m. ET
An intriguing stakes newcomer, #4 Hybrid Eclipse (9-2) has won twice since she joined the Linda Rice barn. Both were in convincing fashion, too, with a last-out Laurel allowance win preceded by an Aqueduct maiden score over Maracuja, who went on to finish second in the Gazelle (G3).
Early choice #7 Littlestitious (2-1) has been competitive everywhere she's run, with the exception of Fair Grounds, and a loss to Kentucky Oaks (G1) prospects like Travel Column and Clairiere there was certainly no disgrace.
Race 10: Federico Tesio S., 5:37 p.m. ET
This Preakness prep lacks a standout and might produce a mild upset.
#2 Tiz Mandate (12-1) has looked like a horse crying out for more distance and will finally get two turns here. He might be more forwardly placed, too, with the addition of blinkers, and is one only three Triple Crown nominees in the field.
#3 Royal Number (6-1) will also add the hood, after he ran below expectations in the Private Terms S. to a rival he had handled easily before. #4 The Reds (4-1) was no factor when he cut back in the Gotham (G3) last time out, but his best runs have been at this 1 1/8-mile trip.
Race 11: King T. Leatherbury S., 6:07 p.m. ET
It is hard to separate the likely top three choices, who appear to hold a significant class edge in this full field of grass sprinters.
We'll use #1 Carotari (5-2), #7 Francatelli (2-1), and #8 Completed Pass (7-2).