FIVE QUESTIONS FOR SUNDAY’S PIMLICO STAKES
Sunday’s 10-race Pimlico card includes five stakes and kicks off with a carryover in excess of $1 million in the jackpot pick-6 wager (jackpot meaning that it only pays out completely if there is one and only one winner). That carryover has been building since Preakness day.
Also of note, the two turf sprints have been taken off the grass and moved to the main track; those are races six and 10. The second, fourth, and eighth races remain on the turf.
Some questions we’ll look to have answered:
With the favorite out and the turf rated as good in the Searching, who benefits?
The most likely beneficiaries are the next obvious contenders, Luck Money and Blame Debbie. The former has won two straight on less-than-firm ground, including a stake two races back. The latter also owns a recent win over good turf and is a Grade 3 winner. If you’re concerned that both are making their seasonal debuts, Crystalle is one who seems to be moving gradually in the right direction.
Does Hemp get his first stakes win in the Ben’s Cat?
The $75,000 Ben’s Cat for Maryland-breds has been taken off the turf, so it’s now a five-furlong dash on the main track. Three-year-old Hemp has won two of five starts – he was third in the other three – and last out was a very good third in the Grade 3 Chick Lang. The Anthony Farrior trainee was a main track only entrant here and may just be sitting in the catbird seat.
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If not Pixelate, then who in the Prince George’s County?
This race and the Shine Again are the two best on the card, this $100,000, nine-furlong turf affair having attracted at least a half-dozen turf stakes winners, including three graded winners. Pixelate is the 3-1 morning line favorite and was a good second in his last, in the Henry S. Clark over the Pimlico turf. He’s also a Grade 2 winner. If he falters? Two logical contenders are the Arnaud Delacour-trained Talk Or Listen, who was second in the G2 Dinner Party last out and was a stakes winner in France, and Logical Myth, trained by Joe Sharp, who’s a multiple stakes winner but whose last was a bit off-color. His better efforts compete here.
Will Anna’s Bandit come back running in the Shine Again?
What a good race the Shine Again is. It includes multiple stakes-winning locals like Hello Beautiful, Dontletsweetfoolya, and Never Enough Time to go with the undefeated Chub Wagon, who showed a new dimension in dominating the Skipat last out. It’s also a race with what appears to be plentiful front-end speed – something that could play to the benefit of the comebacking Anna’s Bandit. The 11-time stakes winner has earned nearly $800,000 but has not raced in 11 months. This is a tough spot to make her return, and she’s done perhaps her best running a touch further, but the pace scenario very much puts her in the conversation if she’s back to being, you know, Anna’s Bandit.
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What happens in the Stormy Blues?
If Anna’s Bandit wins the Shine Again, her trainer, Jerry Robb, very well could be sitting on the late double. With the five-furlong Stormy Blues taken off the turf, his Street Lute, a six-time stakes winner whose last couple aren’t her best (but come with excuses), figures to have a prime opportunity to get back on the winning track.