Pimlico picks and ponderings July 2, 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 -$1,351,929 Super High 5 — $0 Late Pick 5 — $0
RACE 1: MAIDEN CLAIMING $10,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS
- Welcome to the first July card at Pimlico since 2001. We’ll see about the condition of the dirt, we know for sure they’ll be OFF the grass today. Fortunately, only two grass races were scheduled anyway. #5 Pepe and Haywood (7/5) has gotten better with every start. Last out, he showed speed and was clear late, only to get caught in the last few strides. He ran a career-best brisnet figure of 65, the fifth consecutive race he’s run a career-top. He doesn’t have to keep moving forward to win this race; he just can’t go backwards. #3 Pet’s Night (4/1) was beaten four lengths by Pepe and Haywood in his debut last out, recovering well after a bad break. He had one gate work prior to that race; I would’ve liked to have seen another. #4 Moonzano (2/1) goes first off the claim for Dale Capuano. He was wide throughout last out, and backed up, but made a solid move to get second two back.
- RACE 2: STARTER ALLOWANCE $5,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
- No one will get rich betting #1 Souper Catch (7/5). However, he’s won his last four races, all against similar horses as he’ll see today. He regressed in his last start, running a relatively low figure of 87 while having to sweat it out in the last eighth. That was his first recent start outside of his home base of Penn National. Interested to see how he does in his second start on this track. Another Pennsylvania-based horse, #5 Iywaan (9/5), has a very consistent string of figures in the mid-90s, and drops in here after a wide trip against better last out at Parx. He won four in a row between Parx and Penn National earlier in the year. #3 Hashtag Winning (6/1)‘s figures a cut below those of the two best, but he has great late pace figures and is a live candidate to round out the exacta.
RACE 3: MAIDEN CLAIMING $40,000, 2-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 5 FURLONGS
- Two more days to fade the rainbow pick 6 before the mandatory payout on Sunday. If it holds, the non-Preakness week Maryland handle record will be in jeopardy. #8 R B’s Star (3/1) showed moxie in her debut against straight maidens at Delaware Park, battling in the stretch and getting second with a figure of 78. Interestingly, Claudio Gonzalez elected to race her here, rather than in another straight maiden race at Delaware on Monday. After such a promising debut, it’s a bit surprising that he’d want to risk here. Perhaps he just wants a dub, and isn’t too concerned if he loses her at the claim box. Either way, she’s tough if she runs back to her debut. #7 Still Doing Time (4/1) got bet in her debut at this level, and almost wired them. The post draw is not ideal, but at least she’s shown speed, and she cleared from the five-hole at this distance last out. #9 Six O’Clock Sarah (8/1) was a solid-closing third behind Still Doing Time in her first start, and looks to keep moving forward. In that start, she ended up three-wide despite breaking from the rail. The outside post here may not do her any favors.
RACE 4: CLAIMING $16,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
- This race was scheduled for the grass, but was taken off after thunderstorms yesterday. At least they made the call early. #8 Claw (4/1) ran a big figure of 77 in his last dirt start, against better early in the Pimlico meet. His form on dirt and synthetic is very up-and-down, but at least he’s shown some signs of life. #7 Pay the Kid (3/1) broke his maiden on dirt last December, and just missed over the surface against similar several times last year. Makes his second start off the layoff here. #9 Officer Country (12/1) goes third off a long break and has early speed. The only question is if he can stretch it out around two turns. That remains an open question, although he’s never faced a softer field of winners on dirt.
- RACE 5: CLAIMING $16,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
- This is not a split of race 4; it was originally scheduled for the dirt. #2 Sheriff Chip (10/1) is lightly raced, making just his fifth start overall and his second against winners. He went gate-to-wire going six furlongs two back, with a big figure of 81. Last out around two turns, he tried to come from just off the pace and lost by two lengths. He can easily build off that race here. #5 Sir Lenny (5/2) plunges in class from the n/w1x allowance optional claiming level. He’s flashed early speed in the past, and should get to the front if he gets the right set of circumstances. #4 Roaring River (8/1) goes back to the big track after a disappointing race on the Charles Town bullring. Prior to that race, he started his career with four straight figures in the 70s.
RACE 6: CLAIMING $5,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
- This is a two-horse race, and will be bet accordingly. #3 Cooke Brothers (7/5) has finished second in four of his last five races, running almost the same race every time. He tends to linger at the back, then make a big move in the stretch and fall short. Drops back in for $5,000 after a try for $16,000 at the same condition last out. #1 Hazels Little Man (8/5) got engaged in a tough four-way duel at Parx last out, ultimately losing by twelve lengths. Draws the inside here and profiles as the fastest member of the field. #7 Justice of War (12/1) had a steady streak of figures in the 70s before disappointing races in his last two races. He rallied from well out of it to get third at 11/1 last out. If he goes off at that price again
RACE 7 – ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W2X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
- #3 Rather Nosy (7/5) ships from southern California and makes her first start for Jane Cibelli. She battled on the lead and drew off to win her last two. Shouldn’t have much trouble on the lead here. #4 Virginia Beach (4/1) improved sharply second off the layoff last out, earning an 87 when winning a n/w1x allowance at Delaware last out. Mike Trombetta and Julian Pimentel have improved after slow starts to the meet. #1 Gifted Heart (5/2) just missed in a game effort at the level two back, and has beaten both Virginia Beach and Decoupage, another one of her rivals here, in recent races.
- RACE 8: MAIDEN CLAIMING $16,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 1 1/16 MILES
- #8 Jestful (3/1) set the pace and just missed in similar circumstances last out. Should be tough on the lead once again. #9 Goldies Boy (8/1) also exits an off-the-grass affair. He rated right off the lead last out, but couldn’t quite get by. Earned a a career-best figure of 71, seven points better than anything he had earned prior. #1 Golden Pharoah (6/1) returned to dirt last out and was a solid-closing fifth after a wide trip.
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