Champ World Approval among 237 nominated to Preakness day stakes
Just Howard broke his maiden at Pimlico in 2017. Photo by The Racing Biz.
From a Maryland Jockey Club release
A total of 237 horses — including Eclipse winner World Approval — were nominated to the seven stakes, three graded, worth $1.05 million that support the 143rd running of the Preakness Stakes (G1), the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown, Saturday, May 19 at legendary Pimlico Race Course.
The $1.5 million Preakness will anchor eight stakes, four graded, worth $2.55 million on a 14-race program that begins with a special 10:30 a.m. first post. The Preakness will be Race 13 with a post time of 6:48 p.m.
Just Howard and Ring Weekend, based in Fair Hill, Md. with trainer Graham Motion, are among 31 horses nominated to the 117th running of the $250,000 Dixie Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/16 miles on the grass.
Skeedattle Associates’ Just Howard has yet to make his 2018 debut after being named Maryland-bred champion 3-year-old, turf horse and Horse of the Year following wins in the Commonwealth Derby (G3), Find and Caveat stakes. Grade 1 winner Ring Weekend, who has nearly $1.6 million in earnings from 31 career starts, has been off the board in two stakes tries this year after opening his 7-year-old campaign with an allowance win at Gulfstream Park Feb. 11.
Also prominent among Dixie nominees are World Approval, a multiple Grade 1 winner of more than $3 million who captured last year’s race en route to champion turf male honors; Caribou Club, who beat Ring Weekend in the Henry Clark April 21 at Laurel Park; multiple Grade 1 winner Divisidero, unraced since October; graded winners Flatlined, Frostmourne, Mr. Misunderstood, Page McKenney, Projected and Shining Copper; and two-time Maryland Million Turf winner Phlash Phelps.
The $150,000 Maryland Sprint (G3) for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs, and $100,000 The Very One for fillies and mares 3 and up going five furlongs on turf are part of the renewed Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championship (MATCH) Series, an assortment of 25 races at tracks in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania which originally debuted in 1997 and ran for five years.
Graded stakes winners American Anthem, Delta Bluesman, El Areeb, Favorable Outcome, Favorite Tale, Long Haul Bay and Warrior’s Club; and Recruiting Ready, winner of the Chick Lang on the 2017 Preakness undercard, top 36 nominees to the Maryland Sprint. With 39 nominations, The Very One was most popular among horsemen featuring Grade 3 winner Morticia and multiple stakes winners Anna’s Bandit, Blue Bahia, Chanteline and Triple Chelsea.
Two-time defending Eclipse Award champion trainer Chad Brown has six of 35 nominees to the $150,000 Gallorette (G3) for fillies and mares 3 and up going 1 1/16 miles on turf, led by graded-stakes winners Elysea’s World, Fifty Five, Fourstar Crook and Uni. Also nominated are defending champion Cambodia and multiple graded-stakes winners Hawksmoor and Tricky Escape.
Aside from the Preakness, 3-year-old will be in the spotlight in both the $200,000 Chick Lang at six furlongs and $100,000 LARC Sir Barton to Benefit Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance at 1 1/16 miles. Among the Chick Lang’s 34 nominees are graded-stakes winners Engage, Madison’s Luna and Run Away; undefeated stakes winner Midnight Poker and multiple Maryland stakes winner Still Having Fun.
The Sir Barton drew 35 nominees led by Arkansas Derby (G1) fifth-place finisher Tenfold, under consideration for the Preakness; stakes winners Battle At Sea, Noble Commander, Prince Lucky, Sea Foam, Whereshetoldmetogo and Whirlin Curlin; Sunland Derby (G3) runner-up Dream Baby Dream and multiple graded-stakes placed Pony Up.
On turf, sophomores will be featured in the $100,000 James W. Murphy at one mile which attracted 27 nominations, among them stakes winners Battle At Sea, Black Stetson, Evaluator, Magicalmeister, Reride, Sand Dancer, Still Having Fun, Therapist and Whirlin Curlin.