From a Maryland Jockey Club release
Six Triple Crown nominees are among the nine runners in Saturday’s $100,000 Federico Tesio Stakes, the last of four stakes races on the 11-race program at Pimlico Race Course.
Kid Cruz, the 2-1 morning line favorite, entered Linda Rice’s barn via the claim box for $50,000 and has started twice for his New York-based trainer, including a second in an entry level allowance at Aqueduct and a victory the Private Terms Stakes at Laurel Park where he rallied from nearly 20 lengths back to win going away. He reunites with Julian Pimentel.
“At the beginning he didn’t want any part of that race,” Pimentel said. “What I learned was that I have to keep after him, keep him busy. I knew he can get going late. There is some speed in the race which should help.”
Oliver Zip (5-2) won the Fred Capossela at Aqueduct before a near-miss second in the Bay Shore Stakes (G3). Before that he was second in both the Jimmy Winkfield and Don Rickles. The front-running son of City Zip, who is trained by Kelly Breen, picks up Sheldon Russell.
“This is his first time stretching out so I will have to see what Kelly wants to do,” Russell said. “He has done all his running up front but we’ll have to see how he handles the break. There is a lot of speed in here and with it being his first time around two turns we’ll see if we can get him to relax and get him home.”
Undertaker (5-1) is two-for-five lifetime, including a win over Kid Cruz earlier this year, and tries stakes company for the first time, as does Sassicaia (10-1), who remains a maiden after two starts at Gulfstream Park for trainer Chad Brown.
Joint Custody (6-1) has finished first or second seven times in eight career starts, including victories in the Marylander and Maryland Juvenile Championship at Laurel Park last fall. Wesley Ho rides for Jerry Robb.
Matuszak (15-1) won his debut at Churchill Downs for Bill Mott but is winless since, most recently finishing third in the Private Terms.
Undefeated Ground Control (15-1) is from the Tony Dutrow barn.
Mr. Rover (20-1) had a productive 2-year-old campaign with seven in the money finishes in as many starts but has hit the board just once in three stakes tries this year.
Elevated (30-1) won the Elser Memorial at Parx Racing but beat just two horses in the Private Terms.
Nutello gets blinkers for his start in the $100,000 Henry S. Clark Stakes, where Trevor McCarthy will ride the Graham Motion trainee, a stakes winner in Europe and the winner of over $400,000. The 5-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid is the 5-2 morning line favorite in a field of 11 which will go one mile on the turf.
The Motion barn will also be represented by Under Control (9-2), a Brazilian import, who finished third in an allowance test at Gulfstream park last month. Alex Cintron has the riding assignment on the son of Northern Afleet.
Two-time Maryland Million Turf winner Roadhog is 7-2 second choice in the Clark. The Bowman’s Band offspring was second in his most recent try, the Japan Racing Association Stakes in November, after winning the Alphabet Soup Stakes at Parx at the end of last summer. Kendrick Carmouche will ride.
Another to watch is Change of Command (5-1) from the Mike Trombetta barn. The son of Gators N Bears set a course record in the Elkwood Stakes at Monmouth Park at the distance last summer. Pimentel will be aboard.
“I think the mile is his best distance,” Pimentel said. “He is a really nice horse. He is pretty versatile. If they are going fast he can be behind but if they are going slow he’ll be right there.”
Russell has the assignment on Super Chunky (15-1), an 8-year-old making his 46th career start. The Kenny Cox trainee spent the winter at Tampa Bay Downs where he was winless in five starts. The son of Put It Back has five runner-up finishes in stakes race since fall 2010.
“I have some success with him and I am really excited to be aboard going long,” added Russell, who teamed up with Super Chunky for a second place finish in the G3 Highlander at Woodbine last summer. “I have always asked Kenny to stretch him out. Sprinting he was always running against Ben’s Cat. He is older and more mature now so he can handle the mile.”
She’s Ordained (5-2) is a force to reckon with in the 6-furlong $100,000 Primonetta Stakes, with 14 wins in 32 starts on her resume. December’s Willa On The Move Stakes at Laurel was her most recent stakes victory. Angel Quinones rides for trainer Tim Kreiser.
Winning Image (7-2) fended off She’s Ordained in the What A Summer Stakes in January, delivering the victory for jockey Tony Black and trainer Michael Aro. Her triumphs include four stakes in a row from December 2012 to July 2013, including a defense of the My Juliet at Parx.
Six other fillies and mares are expected to face to starter including Do Somethin (3-1), who is a perfect 3-of-3 in 2014, I’m Mom’s Favorite (5-1), who won the Miss Preakness Stakes here last May, Frivolity (6-1), who has won two straight and five-time stakes winner Red’s Round Table (8-1).
“I have always liked her. She is one of my all-time favorites,” added Russell, who rode Red’s Round Table to a pair of stakes victories in 2011. “Since coming back from her injury, she gets really nervous in the gate but I haven’t lost faith in her. She’s been training well and I expect a big effort.”
Tizgale, Sweet Emma Rose and Miss Behavior face off in the $100,000 Stormy Blues Stakes, along with five other three-year-old fillies who will go five furlongs on the turf.
Tizgale, the 2-1 morning line choice, rides a two-race win streak at Gulfstream on the grass for trainer Ignacio Correas.
Sweet Emma Rose finished a neck behind Tizgale in her season debut, then wired the field in an allowance start last month for trainer Wesley Ward.
Miss Behavior (3-1) is a two-time stakes winner on the main track, including the Matron (G2) at Belmont Park for Laurel Park-based Phil Schoenthal.
“It was heart-breaking not to be on her last summer when I was out with the shoulder injury,” said Russell, who will ride the daughter of Jump Start. “She did some great things and I am fortunate Phil was willing to put me back on her. She cannot be training any better. I am not sure she can handle the grass or not but either way this is a prep for the Miss Preakness on Black-Eyed Susan Day.”
(Featured image of Kid Cruz by Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club.)