Pimlico picks and ponderings May 28, 2021
Horses round the first 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 — $708,858 Super High 5 — $0 Late Pick 5 — $115,038
RACE 1: CLAIMING $5,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
- A field of six lines up in the first of nine races on Memorial Day Friday. The weather forecast is up in the air; it wouldn’t be a surprise to see some races over a FAST track and others over SLOPPY conditions. #6 Distant Thunder (4/5) ran huge against better last out, getting involved in a brutal duel in the two-path with a 2/5 favorite. That rival held on to finish second, while Distant Thunder faded to finish fourth. Now he drops in class and faces no speed as serious to his inside. A clear single in the early pick 5 (which does NOT feature a carryover). #5 Fifty Seven Chevy (10/1) made up mild ground to finish fourth against similar last out, missing third place by only 1 1/2 lengths. Closing any kind of ground on this track, especially in a sprint, is pretty impressive. #4 Quest of Glory (3/1) ships back from a jaunt to Charles Town, where he made good ground and led briefly before flattening out late. He’s put in strong rallies in the past, but the 1-for-25 record is cause for concern.
- RACE 2: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $32,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/16 MILES (GRASS)
- 11-7-8-2 (DIRT: 4-7-6-11)
- As noted, the forecast is a bit shaky, so keep an eye on those dirt picks. #11 A Girl Named Jac (7/2) won at five furlongs in her first start off the layoff last out. That race was her grass debut. This is her first start going long on this surface. In her first start going a mile last fall, she lasted on the lead after an honest pace, so she’s had some experience going longer distances. #7 New York Rock Star (5/1) adds lasix for the first time for the red-hot trainer/jockey combo of Jamie Ness and Jaime Rodriguez. This is her first grass start since last July, when she was a sharp-closing second at Monmouth Park. She hasn’t raced anywhere since late February, but turned in a bullet workout at Parx last week. #8 Kitten With a Whip (6/1) has won two of her last three at Tampa Bay Downs. She’s worked out the same trip every time, rating wide off the pace and pouncing. Her last two brisnet figures, 72, and 74, are her two best career marks.
- RACE 3: CLAIMING $8,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
- #4 Hayne’s Fever (2/1) is easily the fastest horse early on, and shouldn’t have many challenges on the pace. If he gets away with a lonely lead, like he did two back, he could prove tough to catch. Then again, he got an easy pace last out, and was caught by the #2 Charging Lion (5/2), who ran big in his first start off the layoff, and first out for Jamie Ness. He regressed second time out, when he sat off the pace and was flat, but he’s going to get the trip and has every right to improve third off the layoff. #7 Five Card Draw (5/1) has steadily earned figures in the mid-80s and has good tactical speed, but is stretching out to this distance for the first time.
RACE 4: MAIDEN CLAIMING $16,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS
- The rainbow pick 6 was paying out to one winning ticket for several horses heading into race 9, but the jackpot managed to survive for another day. #4 Leave ‘Em Loaded (5/2) has run a career-best figure in each of his last three starts, peaking at a 72 last out in his first race off the layoff after a rough break. Should be prominent on the early pace here. #2 Cranston’s Network (3/1) is a first-time starter for the Mike Trombetta barn who faces a pretty soft field on debut. His workouts at Delaware Park have been sharp. #5 Lifespan (9/5) has early speed and steady figures in the upper-60s to mid-70s, but the 0-for-14 record is alarming, especially at low odds.
RACE 5 – CLAIMING $16,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 FURLONGS (GRASS)
15-3-2-6 (DIRT: 2-15-1-10)
- The biggest pick 5 carryover in the history of Maryland racing starts here. Wouldn’t be a surprise to see the pool go over the $500,000 mark. #15 Commas Save Lives (7/2) ships in from California, and makes her first start of the Cal Lynch barn. She fared well against better over the winter at Santa Anita Park, earning figures of 81 and 76 in her two grass tries there, although they were not visually impressive efforts. Has one solid local workout, at Delaware Park two weeks ago. Should enjoy the class relief and will sit the trip stalking the pace. Her stablemate, #3 Cindy’s Prayer (9/5) has not raced this year. She was last seen in December at Fair Grounds showing speed and fading against allowance optional claiming foes. The story of her life has been setting a sharp pace in grass sprints, then backing up. She has the most early speed in this race and an ideal post. I just wonder how fast she’ll be first off the layoff. #2 Asbuilt (3/1) tries winners and grass for the first time. She held on to go gate-to-wire in her sixth career start last out, with a career-best figure of 74. Will be tough if that form translates to grass.
RACE 6: MAIDEN CLAIMING $40,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
- Most of the field is not in for the tag, on account of being Maryland-breds. #5 Wicked Hot (2/1) raced against straight maidens on paper last out, and came from behind off a moderate pace to finish second, beaten a head. She goes second time out for Graham Motion, who is not great with first-timers. Should improve here. #1 No Chance Given (5/1) goes first off the claim for Claudio Gonzalez, who is 28% with that angle. She also put in a strong rally last out, closing from eleven lengths out of it to lose in a blanket finish. #9 Matoula (15/1) ships from New York for her second career start. She just missed a second-place finish after closing off a very slow pace. Adds blinkers and gets Carol Cedeno for her Maryland debut. Worth a shot at possible big odds, and is for sure the type to use on pick 5 tickets.
RACE 7 – CLAIMING $5,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
- A wide-open field of seven lines up for the third leg of the pick 5. #7 Family Fortune (4/1) stalked the pace and got up to win against similar last out, matching her career-best figure of 73. She returned from a very long layoff earlier in the year, but has quickly made her way up the class ladder since coming back. Grant Whitacre and Mario Serey have quietly been a strong jockey/trainer combo lately, going 6-for-21 over the past 90 days. #1 Instinctive (7/2) has been knocking on the door against similar. She got the pace to run into last out, but made only mild ground and finished third. She’s a good underneath horse, but hasn’t quite shown the closing kick needed to win these types of races. #2 Petion Lass (5/2) drops to a conditioned claimer and makes her first start of the year. She concluded her season with three straight runner-up finishes. Every time, she fell way behind early, and rallied gallantly to fall short. She can get a piece, to be sure, but I’d be wary of a win bet at low odds, especially in her first race of the year.
RACE 8: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS
- On paper, this looks like it will be bet as a two-horse race between the #2 Heir Port (8/5) and the #4 Cry No More (7/5). Both are coming off sharp allowance wins. In his last start, Heir Port stalked the pace and beat Cry No More, who came back to beat Maryland-breds in his next start. The main concern with Cry No More is that there’s lots of speed in here, most of it coming from #5 It’s Sizzling Time (8/1) drawn to his direct outside. It’s possible that the two engage in a speed duel, setting it up for someone to pounce on them and draw away. Heir Port could be the one to do that, but I’ll look to a horse who will likely provide better value, the #1 Palatial Times (9/2). He’s going second off the layoff and dropping in class from the Grade 3 Chick Lang Stakes, where he was sixth. He earned a career-best figure of 84 in that race. He has some of the best late pace figures in the race, and will get a great trip stalking the pace on the inside. The price should be right.
RACE 9 – CLAIMING $12,500, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE (GRASS)
- 14-12-4-7 (DIRT: 8-2-1-10)
- #14 Projected (5/2) earned a big figure of 91 last out, when getting outkicked in the stretch against a similar field. He has very in-and-out form; he won two races back at Gulfstream Park with only a mild kick. Goes first out for Kieron Magee here. #12 Gearhead (8/5) closed off a very slow pace at Belmont Park last out, finishing fifth after saving ground the whole way. He regressed to a 79 in that race, but had run in the 80s in his four prior races. If Projected draws in, you’ll likely get a better price. #4 No Knock Raid (12/1) is another good value for pick 5 players. He’s racing for the first time since last year’s Maryland Million Turf, when he was on a hot pace and stopped. He has early speed in a race without a lot of it.
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