The GQ Approach – Pimlico May 18

by | May 18, 2019 | Breaking, Handicapping, Maryland, MD Racing

Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing edged Classic Empire to win the 2017 Preakness. Photo by Laurie Asseo.

The GQ Approach features full-card selections from Pimlico for the live spring racing meet, Post Time 1:10pm EDT including a daily Best Bet, Longshot Play, and multi-race wagers — including the 20 cent Rainbow Pick-6, 50 cent Early and Late Pick-5s, as well as Pick-4s and rolling Doubles, Pick-3s and the Super High-5.

Today’s carryovers

  • Rainbow Pick 6: $37,612
  • Super High 5: $3,069
  • Late Pick 5: none

Multi-race wagers

  • Race 1 – $2 Double 1, 2, 9 w/ 5, 9 ($12)
  • Race 3 – 50 cent Pick-3  3, 5 w/ 5, 9, 12, 14 w/ 2, 4, 6, 9 ($16)
  • Race 6 – $500,000 GUARANTEE 50 cent Pick-4               1, 6 w/ 2, 5 w/ 1, 2, 7, 9 w/ 1, 2, 7, 9 ($32)
  • Race 9 – $1,000,000 GUARANTEE 50 cent Pick-5             2, 7, 9 w/ 1, 3, 7 w/ 8, 9 w/ 7, 11, 12  w/ 2, 4, 13 ($54)

Best Bet of the Day

  • Race 6: #6 – Wentz (4-1)

Longshot Play of the Day

  • Race 9: #7 – Angel at War (12-1)


  • Weather: Partly Cloudy; highs in the 80s
  • Scheduled turf races: 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 9th, 10th, 12th
  • Projected track conditions: Main – FAST / Turf – FIRM

First Race Post Time 10:30am EDT

Race 1 is ON THE TURF

  1. #2 – Friendly Fire (4-1): Just missed in debut on Lrl turf last month and stays at this level in hopes of graduating; any improvement gets it done        
  2. #1 – Shelly Island (12-1): Nearly pulled 26-1 upset in latest, his first try on the turf in 8th career outing; will need to overcome rail spot unless jock hustes him to the front  
  3. #9 – Cyclobomb (15-1): Returns to turf five races after initial try which came against better foes than are assembled today; was sent off Post Time favorite and showed early speed that day but faded in the stretch going 5 1/2 furlongs                         

Race 2 is ON THE TURF

  1. #9 – Roman Approval (10-1): 8-year-old used to compete in graded stakes but hasn’t seen the Winners Circle in last 19 outings but could be moving in right direction in third race after layoff      
  2. #5 – Liquid Aloha (4-1): Trainer J. Cibelli lone entry on the card ships down from Mth following a 3-race winter campaign at GP, winning twice at $16k level; should get first run on dueling pacesetters
  3. #7 – Front Line Paige (6-1): My daughter’s namesake so how could I toss her? Gets jock upgrade today which will help turn the tables on #10 – Minister’s Strike

Race 3 is the Sir Barton

  1. #3 – King for a Day (7-5): No value for a Capt. Obvious BEST BET play (see R6 for that); finished just behind graded stakes winners Harvey Wallbanger (Holy Bull), Plus Que Parfait (UAE Derby & 7th in Derby) and Signalman (KYJC & Preakness contender), albeit last Fall but has been steadily working in the A.M. for 3-year-old debut  
  2. #5 – Tone Broke (9-2): Tough traveling from Dubai after racing there just 2 months ago but trust trainer S. Asmussen will have him ready; could pick up the pieces in case of a pace meltdown    
  3. #4 – Top Line Growth (9-5): Obliterated $40kMCL foes at Lrl in racing debut last month earning an eye-popping 92 Brisnet# at this distance

Race 4 is ON THE TURF

  1. #5 – Misty On Pointe (4-1): For all the ballet dancers, all 3 of this 5-year-old mares victories have come on the turf at this distance; there’s a ton of early speed in this contest which bodes well for this gals off the pace running style 
  2. #9 – Hip Hop (9-2): A winner in her first race of the year just 4 weeks ago, can stalk the early leads and get first run as they’ll be looking for oxygen masks in the final furlong 
  3. #14 – Kitty’s Right (6-1): Fits with these but this deep closer will need top rider (I. Ortiz, Jr.) to get her out of first gear earlier than normal as the distance is 1/16th short than she’s used to traveling

Race 5 is the James W. Murphy ON THE TURF

  1. #6 – War Film (9-2): Speed figures continue ascending and he can boast top Brisnet Prime Power rating among this group; only concern is the quick turn-around as last race was just two weeks ago
  2. #4 – English Bee (5-1): Considered the stronger of the two G. Motion trainees (#1 is the other); had a rough trip in his latest yet finished less than two-lengths behind winner who along with third place finisher came back to win in their next outing
  3. #9 – Tybalt (15-1): It’s amazing it took this long (11th start) for this son of the ultimate turf sire Kitten’s Joy, to run on the turf; been playing second fiddle to Preakness contender Alwaysmining in local dirt stakes; wouldn’t shock this Capper to see him win

Race 6 is the G3 Maryland Sprint

  1. #6 – Wentz (4-1): *** BEST BET *** Only one way to go… gate-to-wire baby! Game 4-year-old enjoys this distance (3 for 4) and will only get token pressure early from #4; believe J. Rosario can get him to relax and take advantage of a potential speed favoring surface 
  2. #1 – New York Central (6-1): Hit triple-digit Brisnet# (100) in latest even though he finished 5th; he’s 2 for 2 at this distance and gets regular pilot R. Santana, Jr. back in the irons
  3. #7 – Proforma (3-1): Travels to sixth different venue in last six starts; stumbled at the start of 2019 debut last month on the turf but made a nice late run to come up just a length short to prove he’s in shape to come back here while switching back to his preferred dirt surface (6:3-1-1)    

Race 7 is the Searching ON THE TURF

  1. #5 – Ickymasho (8-5): Been successfully mixing it up in graded stakes company coincidently or not, since racing with Lasix; has been part of the Exacta in half of his starts (39:9-11-4)
  2. #2 – Homeland Security (9-2): Will be reunited with I. Ortiz, Jr. after a so-so effort in G3 Orchid at GP for new trainer C. Clemente; 2 for 2 at this 1 ½ mile route
  3. #6 – Vevina (12-1): Third start after layoff typically indicates a top effort; trainer P. D’Amato ships this gal in from Kee who has improved with the addition of blikers in her last two 

Race 8

  1. #1 – Articulator (5-2): Speed from the rail as latest at GP was a hiccup in his progression under trainer J. Navarro; looking for a big effort following a brief layoff and a couple works at Mth       
  2. #2 – Day the Music Died (12-1): Gut feeling as this one was scratched out of an easier spot on the turf on Thursday; trusting the connections decision unless they’re just into having a runner on Preakness Day
  3. #9 – Overdeliver (3-1): Trainer T. Pletcher took a shot with this 3-year-old in the Wood Memorial but did get a good gauge on his distance ability when squeezed back, clipping heels losing any chance right after the start; cuts back to distance where he won at first asking before running second to Preakness runner Win Win Win in track record time  

Race 9 is The Very One ON THE TURF

  1. #7 – Angel at War (12-1): $$$ LONGSHOT $$$ First time she’ll race on the grass and though pedigree doesn’t scream turf, she should handle it; the angle here is all about her natural speed as she’ll beat her foes to the first pole and hold off the others late
  2. #2 – Dare to Be (6-1): Gets back on turf after two eventful off the turf outings; 1 for 1 on Pim turf as she conquered an easier group here in ’17; trainer R. Jenkins is a master at find spots where his runners can be successful
  3. #9 – Wild About Star (9-2): LA-bred who found her calling on the grass as her sire (Star Guitar) was all dirt; should rebound after a rough trip in latest against the boys in a minor LA-bred stakes     

Race 10 
is the G3 Gallorette ON THE TURF

  1. #1 – I’m So Fancy (7-2): Import from Ireland makes North American debut for owners (Lael Stables) who had Barbaro; Preakness Day must be tough on them, but they’ve had their fair share of good luck in racing, maybe this IRE-bred mare will be their lucky charm 
  2. #7 – In the Lee (10-1): Beaten favorite who may have needed that one along with a bit more distance as she’ll get it today; honest running mare has given 110% in each of her ten starts
  3. #3 – Thewayiam (10-1): A bridesmaid in first/only start of ’19 last month when sent off as favorite but that event proved to be tough as the third-place finisher came back to win a restricted stakes

Race 11 is the G3 Chick Lang

  1.  #8 – Preamble (5-2): Might be the best 3-year-old sprinter in the male division with a perfect 3 for 3 record but has a tough act to follow after Covfefe shattered the track record yesterday for this 6f distance (1:07 3/5); no record required, just prove you’re the best 
  2.  #9 – Confessor (15-1): Speed figures don’t measure up compared to his eight foes in here but the locals that he’s been beating came back on Thursday to win (Hall Pass); could benefit from an insanely quick early pace and pass leg-weary foes in the shadow of the wire 
  3.  #7 – Pyron (7-2): One of many speedsters who could assert himself early and get separation from the rest OR be part of a crowded group of pacesetters who run out of gas in mid-stretch       

Race 12 is the G2 Dixie ON THE TURF

  1.  #11 – Inspector Lynley (7-2): 24-race veteran on the turf has always brought his A-game regardless of the class level; won’t be far off the early leaders but might be up against it if none of his foes go with the potential “lone speed” (#7) early
  2.  #12 – Catholic Boy (3-1): Winner of 4 out of 5 turf starts but strangely never the Post Time favorite when racing on the grass… that will likely change today; 4-year-old makes 2019 debut while facing elders for the first time on turf; works say he’ll be ready
  3.  #7 – Real Story (10-1): Pace makes the race… the big question is will this guy get challenged early or be able to lope along setting slow early fractions; if the latter he’ll be tough to catch in the stretch; note the only other legitimate early speed (#6 – Flameaway) is SCRATCHED with the pace wild card being #4 – Paret making his N.A. debut a wild card

Race 13 is the G1 Preakness

  1.  #4 – Improbable (5-2): He was my Derby pick and I’m not about to abandon him and his 7-time winning Preakness trainer Bob Baffert now; ran 5th in Derby but placed 4th via DQ of Maximum Security; was stuck on the inside most of the way, where his trainer advised the jock not to be… enter Triple Crown winning jock Mike Smith for the Preakness;  in the A.M. he acts like a bull in a china shop which could be viewed as a negative, but that’s just his personality and always runs his race when the gates open 
  2. #13 – Win Win Win (15-1): Another from the KY Derby who supposedly did not care for the soupy surface, finishing a none threatening 10th (placed 9th); still believe this colt is legit at this level, the pace scenario benefits his late running style and has pedigree as both granddaddy’s (Sunday Slence & Smarty Jones) won the Preakness; adds blinkers 
  3.  #2 – Bourbon War (12-1): The buzz-horse this week at Pimlico; has looked great in the A.M. and seems to have taken to the track like a fish to water; should be sitting in a nice stalking position waiting for the speed-dueling quartet to throw out their anchors in the stretch; adds blinkers today

Race 14

  1. #2 – Enqueteur (4-1): If you’re still around to bet this nightcap, then you’re a hard-core horseplayer; G. Motion trainee was well-bet in debut at Kee last October and hasn’t raced since; extensive work pattern last 6 weeks and J. Ortiz riding in last race of the today speaks volumes of his chances      
  2. #4 – Gnarly Mo (5-1): This first-time starter by Uncle Mo out of a Salt Lake mare cost a cool $385k as a yearling; work tab shows he’s quick in the A.M.         
  3.  #3 – Glory Song (7-2): Caught the attention of the Equibase chart callers in both starts by being “game” in defeat, the latest when racing with Lasix for first time; second time often makes a winner out of them   


  • On Friday May 17th at Pimlico had 9 winners from the 14-race card (4 Top Selections; payoff in BOLD) having $2 WIN pay-offs of $9.60 (1st race), $5.80 (3rd), $3.40 (4th), $10.00 (5th), $3.20 (7th), $8.20 (9th), $7.80 (11th), $4.40 (12th) and $4.80 (14th).
  • BEST BET of the Day: China Cat (3rd race: 4-1 M/L; 9-5 PT) hugged the inner rail on the turn, swung to the five-path in upper stretch and rallied outside the winner coming up a nose short and returned $3.00 to PLACE and $2.20 to SHOW.
  • LONGSHOT PLAY of the Day: Cordmaker (10th race: 12-1 M/L; 7-2 PT) forward early, dropped back between rivals leaving the far turn, angled seven-wide into the lane, rallied in deep stretch by two necks while a neck behind the runner-up and returned $3.60 to SHOW.