Pimlico picks and ponderings June 12, 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 — $974,564 Super High 5 — $1,057 Late Pick 5 — $0
RACE 1: MAIDEN CLAIMING $16,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 1 1/16 MILES
- The announcement was made yesterday that today’s races are off the grass. Given how heavy the rain was yesterday, it wouldn’t surprise me if the dirt was off all day as well. #7 El Equalizer (3/1) gets blinkers off and adds Charlie Marquez, who is having what could be categorized as a breakthrough meet. This one crossed the wire first on dirt three back, but was disqualified and placed fourth. He won that race is gate-to-wire style. #6 Uncommon Valor (7/5) takes a big drop in class from the $40,000 level, where he got bet and closed to finish third. Both of his last two races were strong efforts, and they came on off tracks. He’ll get that again today. #1 Tales of Saratoga (4/1) recovered after a bad break last out to set an ambitious pace, but backed up in the stretch. Has a chance to wire them from the inside. Trainer Rick Buckley and jockey Johan Rosado are looking to get out of slumps.
RACE 2: CLAIMING $16,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 FURLONGS
This is one of four races originally scheduled for the grass. #2 Shackaboom (7/2) has a need for speed, with gate-to-wire wins in three of her last five dirt races. She has an idyllic post and distance. It’s going to be hard to catch her on the front end. #8 Gilded Lady (6/1) ships up from Florida and makes her second start off the layoff for trainer Jane Cibelli. She moved through her conditions quickly earlier in the year, then faced better at Gulfsttram Park in her last two, and got run off her feet two back while earning a career-best figure. She should sit the trip off Shackaboom. #10 Whispurring Kitten (5/1) makes her first start of the year in this spot. She cleared her n/w2L condition last out at Turfway Park with a good stalking trip. She ran big races on the pace on grass last year.
RACE 3: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $32,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
- #1 Going to the Lead (2/1) has raced very well in his two starts since returning from a year-plus layoff. He beat a similar group two races back, then crossed the wire third against a n/w1x allowance group last out. He earned back-to-back brisnet figures in the mid-80s, which is good enough to win at this level. He’ll be a factor on the pace from the inside. #7 Fugitive (8/1) goes first off the claim for Anthony Farrior, who hits at 25% with that angle. He was well-bet against weaker last out, and closed for second despite not changing leads in the stretch. #4 Sir Back in Black (7/2) cuts back around one turn for Jamie Ness, who is 24% with that angle. This’ll be his first start at six furlongs since last August. In that race, he finished third against better, beaten for second by just half a length, with a figure of 85.
RACE 4: MAIDEN CLAIMING $25,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 5 FURLONGS
- #3 Drive By Lawyer (5/2) ran huge in his debut, recovering from a bad break to finish a strong-closing second. He gets a jockey upgrade to Marquez here. Has a big chance if he can break cleanly. #12 Gleaming Sword (9/2) also got bet in his debut last out, and finished a clear-cut third after showing brief speed. He earned a figure of 74 in that race, which should be good enough to win this one. If he improves off that race, all the better. #6 Miracle Bobbie (10/1) has steadily improved since returning from a long layoff three races back, and has a big chance to upset the exotics at a big price.
RACE 5 – CLAIMING $5,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
- #8 Hot Choice (7/2) chased a loose leader last out, in her first race off the layoff, but managed to finish third, beaten for second by half a length, while running a 68. That’s her second-best figure in the past twelve months. #6 Moonlight Miss (8/1) gets a much-needed cutback in distance after two disappointing routes tries. Six furlongs should work much better for a speedster like her. #5 Keepyourskateson (3/1) drops to this level for the first time and looks for a rebound after some disappointing tries. She steadily earned figures in the mid-70s over the winter.
- RACE 6: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W2X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/16 MILES
- #6 Judi Blue Eyes (7/2) has won two in a row on grass, now goes back to dirt, where she’s steadily earned figures in the 80s. J.D. Acosta keeps the mount; he hits at 22% when teaming up with trainer Claudio Gonzalez. #7 Breviary (20/1) rattled off three in a row on dirt last year. Looks to improve second off the layoff after a dull race in her first start this year. #11 Persisto (3/1) ran a big race to beat conditioned claimers last out at Keeneland. She rated just off the pace and won going away to earn a figure of 87. That’s her best mark in a while.
RACE 7 – ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W2X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
- #3 Youngest of Five (7/2) improved in his third start off the layoff last out, running a 92 while finishing fourth against a tougher field at this condition. It’s encouraging to see him sticking with a sprint: I think he’ll thrive at this distance. #7 Noble Commander (7/2) got entangled in a speedy duel last out, and held on for third in a race that fell apart. He held off Youngest of Five to finish third two races back. #6 Mojovation (5/2) was a strong-closing second in his first race in nine months last out, making a big five-wide move to just miss.
RACE 8: MAIDEN CLAIMING $16,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 1 1/16 MILES
- #6 Jestful (4/1) showed some promise on the synthetic track at Turfway last year, earning a figure of 69 while finishing fifth against similar. Makes his second start off a long break here. #11 Pat’s Factor (5/2) goes third off the layoff and steadily earns figures in the upper 50s and low 60s, right in the range of where he needs to win. #12 Roy G Biv (10/1) has gotten stuck behind slow paces in his two career starts, but is lightly-raced and improved a bit last out.
LATEST IN HANDICAPPING
John Piassek shares his thoughts on today’s Pimlico card here.
In Spa selections, our on-site correspondent provides his Saratoga picks for key races on today’s Saratoga card!
We provide picks and analysis for this evening’s card at Charles Town Races.