From a Maryland Jockey Club release
With an eye toward the 140th Preakness Stakes (G1), 19 3-year-olds were nominated for the $100,000 Federico Tesio, a 1 1/16-mile dirt test regarded as Pimlico Race Course’s local prep for the May 16 second jewel of the Triple Crown.
In all, 151 horses were nominated for six stakes worth $575,000 on April 18 that comprise the first of three big weekends during the eight-week Preakness Meet at Pimlico, which kicked off April 2.
Among the Tesio nominees are Lael Stables’ Divining Rod, second by a neck in the Sam F. Davis (G3) Jan. 31 to kick off his sophomore campaign, and Illinois-bred Dom the Bomb, who capped his juvenile season with back-to-back stakes victories at Hawthorne Park.
Also nominated are The Elkstone Group’s Because He Can, coming off successive sprint victories at Laurel Park, most recently Feb. 8; stakes-tested Bodhisattva, second in Laurel’s 1 1/8-mile Private Terms March 21; Maryland-bred Miracle Wood runner-up Combat Diver; and Donworth, an impressive debut winner March 14 at Gulfstream Park for Regis Racing and trainer Graham Motion.
Leading the way with 37 nominations apiece are the $100,000 Dahlia for fillies and mares and the $100,000 Henry S. Clark for 3-year-olds and up, both scheduled for one mile on the turf.
Dahlia nominee A Little Bit Sassy has yet to make her 4-year-old debut after winning two of 10 starts in 2014 including the Edgewood Stakes. Disqualified from first to fourth in the Regret (G3), the Michael Matz trainee was second in the Lake George (G2) at Saratoga and has run in five consecutive graded stakes.
Also nominated are Noble Damsel (G3) winner Annecdote; Irish-bred Group 3-placed Bocaiuva, yet to make her North American debut; My Charmer (G3) runner-up Cushion; multiple graded stakes winners Daring Dancer, fourth in a Keeneland allowance April 9, and Istanford; Grade 1-placed Joint Return, a stakes winner at three tracks; multiple graded stakes-placed Nellie Cashman; and 2014 Korean Derby (G1) and Oaks (G1) winner Queen’s Blade.
Nominated to the Clark is Adam Staple and Jalin Stable’s Page McKenney, a 5-year-old multiple stakes winning-gelding who opened 2015 with back-to-back stakes victories. He is joined by Lubash, an 8-year-old millionaire recently named New York’s champion turf male of 2014, and multiple New York-bred stakes winner Kharafa; and Hamp, runner-up to Hamp in last year’s Clark.
A pair of $100,000 sprints are scheduled, the Stormy Blues for 3-year-old fillies going five furlongs on the turf, and the Primonetta for females 3 and up at six furlongs on the main track. Stormy Blues nominee Lady Shipman has won three straight starts and is joined by stakes winners Harlan’s Honor, Irish Jasper, Lake Sebago and Spotted Heart.
Lady Sabelia won four of five starts in 2014 and began this year with two victories from three outings including a front-running score in the Barbara Fritchie (G2) Feb. 14 at Laurel. Five of her eight lifetime wins have come at the Primonetta distance, one of them her only try over the Pimlico surface last May. Shadwell Stables’ Mamdooha shows five consecutive wins, most recently coming off a year layoff to capture the March 14 Correction at Aqueduct. Who’s In Town capped her 3-year-old campaign with back-to-back wins at Laurel, including the seven-furlong Safely Kept.
Eleven horses were nominated to the $75,000 Geisha for females 3 and up going 1 1/16 miles on the main track led by Celtic Katie and Brenda’s Way, who ran 1-2 in last year’s Geisha, separated by 5 ¼ lengths. Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Awesome Flower kicked off 2015 with three wins from four starts including a pair of stakes. Eddy Gourmet has won two straight, most recently the Conniver against fellow Maryland-breds March 21 at Laurel.