Preakness Day Spot Plays
Race 3 -- Skipat S.
Seven fillies and mares will go postward in the dash on the dirt, and I am siding with #6 Bronx Beauty (9-2). Trained by Anthony Margotta, the Liaison mare has reeled off four strong races in succession, capped by a dominant score in the recent Regret S. at Monmouth. Gray loves to win, evidenced by her 10-for-22 career mark, and the 5-year-old got a fine draw near the outside of the field as well. Paco Lopez has the call.
Race 4 -- Hilltop S.
A big field of 13 sophomores fillies will go postward in the grassy affair. #10 Shimmering (10-1) will make her U.S. debut for Graham Motion and gets top billing. European import has kept fine company overseas this campaign and seems poised for a positive result on Saturday. Enticing John Velazquez to take the reins is a major positive in my opinion.
Race 7 -- De Francis Memorial Dash (G3)
A well-matched field of nine will vie in the 6-furlong heat. #3 Eastern Bay (10-1) has shown marked improvement since being claimed by Gonzalez in February and is worth a shot at a big number. E Dubai gelding comes off a measured score in the Polynesian S. at Laurel and has never been better in preparation of his Pimlico debut. The 6-year-old fired a bullet four panels most recently as well.
Race 8 -- Laurel Futurity
Juveniles will travel 1 1/16 miles on the lawn in a field with some interesting prospects. I think #5 Light Us Up (12-1) is worth including at his morning-line number. Jonathan Thomas trainee was a game winner on debut at Monmouth in an off-the-turf contest, and the son of Upstart will move forward with the surface change on Saturday. $125,000 OBS purchase runs for a conditioner who does very well first time on the green.
Race 10 -- Black-Eyed Susan (G2)
A total of 11 3-year-old fillies will contest the 9-furlong affair. I tabbed #8 Hopeful Growth (8-1) as a potential exotics contender in the Kentucky Oaks (G1), and while the Margotta charge failed to deliver at Churchill Downs, she appears to be well spotted in this race. Dark bay daughter of Tapiture has the right running style to track the early tempo and get first run on the closing types at the top of the lane under McCarthy.