Horses round the turn at Pimlico. Photo: Dottie Miller.
In which we pick the races from Pimlico each day…
Post time: 12:40 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $0 Super High 5 — $0 Late Pick 5 — $0
Notable: Until further notice, no fans are allowed to attend the races at Pimlico. For more info, click here.
RACE 1: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $25,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP,1 1/16 MILES (GRASS)
- #9 Atreyu (6/1): A winner of five in a row on grass, he closed into fast paces and got up to win in each of his two starts at Delaware Park this year. There’s lots of speed signed on here, so he should be able to get the pace he needs to maximize his rally’s impact.
- #10 Lucky Ramsey (7/2): Like Atreyu, he tends to stalk the pace from midpack and pounce on the turn. Claudio Gonzalez and Angel Cruz are a dangerous combo on dirt, not so much on grass. Still, he’s coming off a grass victory at Penn National, and just missed in his two tries at Laurel earlier in the year. He’ll be heard from late.
- #6 Old Dominion (6/1): Although there is a lot of speed, this one looks like likeliest to sneak away from the rest and set a clear pace. He tried to do just that at Monmouth Park last out, setting a very fast pace and drawing off up the backstretch, only to tire late. He ran much better figures with easier pace scenarios earlier in the year. If he can crank things down even a little on the front end, he may prove tough. Trainer Niall Saville had a ridiculous Laurel meet, with a 5-for-8 record.
RACE 2: CLAIMING $5,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
- #7 Battle Ready (5/1): He has the best early pace figures in the field, and the two speeds to his inside are both cheap. Should have little trouble getting to the lead and establishing a friendly tempo. He bled in his last start, but he’s worked since that race, and I’m betting that he’ll be good to go.
- #5 Glengar (5/2): A winner of two of his last four at Delaware, and he might have won last out, too, if he wasn’t blocked in the stretch. He’ll stalk the leaders, and if Battle Ready falters, he’ll be right there to pick up the pieces.
- #1 Lucid Dream (3/1): Lumbering closer has boxed on to hit the board in his last two down Laurel’s long stretch. Has a bit more early speed than some of the really deep closers in here, and if nothing else, he’ll get the jump on them.
RACE 3: MAIDEN CLAIMING $25,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/8 MILES (GRASS)
- #9 Food and Wine (3/1): Ellis Park invader has steadily been running brisnet figures in the 70s there, including a 78 in back to-back starts. Trainer Tom Proctor did well with horses coming to Laurel this summer; he finished in the top two seven times out of nine.
- #7 Hard Sting (7/2): Goes second off the layoff for Dale Capuano, after a third-place finish in an off-the-grass affair last out. Held his own as a 2-year-old in New York last summer, getting solid wagering action in all three of his grass races. In his best effort, at Saratoga in late July, he set the pace and led turning for home before tiring. With a race under his belt as a more mature horse, he should run a big one here.
- #1 Air Lift (5/1): Closed well last out, finishing third after checking in the stretch. After a string of races where he tired late, to see him coming on in the end is a positive sign.
RACE 4: CLAIMING $5,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
- #1 Team Tim (5/1): Goes third off the layoff for Michael Gorham, after two sharp races at Delaware. Last out, he was wide on a fast pace, but dismissed the competition and drew off to a convincing score. Encouraging to see Daniel Centeno get the mount.
- #4 Tricky Lion (5/2): Drew off last out, but got caught by Twin Valor. That rival came back to win his next race, and is better than anyone Tricky Lion will have to face here. Should get a good trip from just off the pace.
- #6 Talent Scout (2/1): Probably should’ve won his last race, after he got a fast pace to run into and couldn’t finish the deal. Still, he’s improved in every start this year, he won handily two races back, and gets Trevor McCarthy for the first time.
RACE 5 – CLAIMING $12,500, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/8 MILES (GRASS)
- #5 Minister’s Strike (2/1): One of several quality deep closers in here. He’s coming off a solid effort last out at Parx, where he frantically closed to lose by less than a length. McCarthy gets back aboard, after winning with him in late June.
- #9 Eldritch (4/1): Last out, he switched up the strategy a little bit, and sat closer to the pace than usual. The end result was a neck victory. In a race with a lot of closers, it would be wise to employ that strategy once again. Since coming from California, his form has been steadily improving.
- #2 No Knock Raid (8/1): One of the few in here with anything resembling early speed, he stalked the pace last out at Colonial Downs and pulled away to a handy win. The only way he can win is if he gets a clear lead and slows things down enough that it’s tough for the stretch-runners to make their moves.
RACE 6: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 2-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 6 FURLONGS
- #9 Closertotheheart (9/2): One of three in here with experience, she looks the best of that group. Ran on well in her debut last out to finish a clear-cut third for Graham Motion. Will be tough if she can build on that race.
- #6 Out of Sorts (5/1): Brittany Russell has been on a ridiculous hot streak this year, hitting at 31% with her first-time starters. After being on the sidelines for a few weeks, her husband Sheldon will get in the saddle on this one. Workouts have been strong, and so should the betting action.
- #5 Kubie Snacks (5/1): Trombetta and McCarthy get together on this firster, who has been working well at Fair Hill. Back on September 1, she turned in a four-furlong bullet in 48 4/5 seconds.
RACE 7 – ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 FURLONGS (GRASS)
- #6 Sea Lover (10/1): Speedy gelding reeled off three wins in a row to begin his carer in Florida, two of which were on dirt. Tired against better as the 4/5 choice at Gulfstream Park in his last dirt race He was claimed out of his last start by Ben Feliciano, who steps him up in class. He’ll have to gun to the lead to have a shot, but he looks fast enough to do that.
- #5 He’s One Wild Dude (7/2): Got the trip in his last start, stalking the pace and drawing off to earn a season’s best figure of 91. That’s also the top last-out grass figure in the race by nine points.
- #4 Xmasinthecity (10/1): Races second off the layoff for Trombetta and McCarthy. Didn’t do much last out, in a washed-off affair that likely served as a rep for a race like this one. Showed impressive early speed last year as a 3-year-old; should move forward at age 4.
RACE 8: MAIDEN CLAIMING $10,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
- #3 Feature Act (1/1): He’s finished second four times in a row, at 3/1 or less every time. Still, he’s been coming on well at the end of his races after falling way back. That suggests he needs more distance, which he’s getting here. His speed figures are also the best here by a mile.
- #9 Galactic Slam (15/1): After a few futile tries on grass, he returns to the dirt. He debuted on that surface last July, and ran a solid second after being on a very slow pace. He’s also lightly-raced, and is dropping in for a career-low tag.
- #6 Elusive Motion (4/1): Has shown speed and faded in his last few, but won’t have any competition for the lead here at all. That should make his life somewhat easier.