Pimlico picks and ponderings July 31, 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 — $4,719 Super High 5 — $0 Late Pick 5 — $0
RACE 1: CLAIMING $16,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
- It’s the first of nine on another stakes-packed Saturday. #6 Pepe and Haywood (4/1) was scratched out of grass race yesterday, and sticks with dirt. He broke his maiden last out in an impressive front-running effort, earning far and away a lifetime-top brisnet figure of 79. The draw isn’t ideal, but he still looks like the fastest one in the field early. #4 Subject to Change (7/2) drops in class after a visually dull try against allowance foes last out. He looked great in breaking his maiden two back at Charles Town, but he actually improved his figure by six points in that most recent race. Interested to see how he does here for the Robb/Perez duo. #5 Josef is Real (4/5) goes first off the claim for Thomas McMahon. He’s never raced at this level on dirt before, and was competitive against much better earlier in the year. He’s shown flashes of being very good, but can he put it all together here?
RACE 2: CLAIMING $10,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
I’m usually not big on horses who are showing a bunch of seconds and thirds against similar at low odds, but #4 Make It a Double (7/5) is going first off the claim for Anthony Farrior, who is 23% with that angle. That should help her cause. Sheldon Russell is named to ride, as he closes in on his 1,500th win. #3 The Boss of You (2/1) improved sharply in her second start off the layoff last out, finishing second to a runaway winner while narrowly missing her career-best figure. She’s finished second in three starts in a row at this level, but looks like she’s on the verge of a breakthrough. #6 Supreme Blessing (7/2) was third behind The Boss of You last out, in her first start at this level. I don’t think she has the nick needed to win this kind of race, but she can definitely hang on for a piece of the exotics.
RACE 3: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 2-YEAR-OLDS, 5 1/2 FURLONGS
- #2 Buff Hello (9/5) put in a game effort in his second career start. He closed well in the last eighth to lose by just a neck. Adds blinkers for the Claudio Gonzalez/Angel Cruz combination. #3 Heavenly Trip (7/2) takes a slight jump from a $40,000 maiden claiming race, where he battled throughout and held on well. Jevian Toledo, who rode him in his debut, keeps the mount for Brittany Russell. #6 Candy Cool (5/1) was purchased for $575,000 last September at the Keeneland sale, but interestingly, Shug McGaughey opted to keep this one with his Maryland division, rather than ship him up to Saratoga. He might have other things in mind than dirt sprints, but I’m still intrigued.
RACE 4: ALMA NORTH STAKES, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
- This is the first of three stakes on the card. #1 Club Car (3/1) made a bold four-wide bid in the Chicago Stakes at Arlington last out, and missed by half a length. If she had a more ground-saving trip that day, she’d likely be the favorite in this race. She should get one here, having drawn the inside most and being a closer. She looks very live and should be a good value play. #2 Hello Beautiful (3/5) ran a gutsy race last out against Chub Wagon in her first start off the layoff, but I don’t know if she’s worth the odds-on price you’ll get on her. Still a very classy filly who has been dominant in Maryland. If he can’t get it done in race 2, Sheldon has a chance to win 1,500 on a horse trained by Brittany. #6 Precious (5/1) came flying off a fast pace to finish second in the Power By Far Stakes last out. Her three best figures have come in her last three starts, all of which were at Parx.
- RACE 5 – CLAIMING $16,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 1/2 FURLONGS (GRASS)
- #3 Aprilness (5/2) races for the Ness/Silvera combo, which is dangerous everywhere, and has enjoyed recent success at Pimlico. This one races for the first time on grass since May 22, when she was second behind the very classy Shackaboom. She’ll look to control things up front. #2 Tricky Nikki (6/1) broke her maiden at tenth asking at Penn National last out with a game front-running effort. She’ll try to give some trouble to Aprilness early on. #8 Abby Normal (8/1) didn’t draw into a lower condition yesterday, so she’ll try this race. She was in improving form last year before the end of grass season, and was wide throughout in her first start of the year last out. Has room for improvement at a decent price.
- RACE 6- DEPUTED TESTAMONY STAKES, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/8 MILES
- A very nice field of older horses lines up here. #4 Cordmaker (3/1) showed a new dimension two races back, taking the Harrison Johnson Stakes in gate-to-wire style. He tried to get to the lead in the Pimlico Special, and while he flattened out to fourth, he still earned a very strong figure of 98. He’s had some time off since then, and will likely be aiming for a spot on or near the pace. #1 Magic Michael (3/1) was impressive when winning three in a row at Parx, then was a solid second in the Battery Park Stakes at Delaware Park last out. He’ll rate off the pace on the inside and look to employ a strong closing kick. #6 Harpers First Ride (9/5) returned to the Gonzalez stable last out after a brief, fruitless tenure in the Robertino Diodoro barn. He returned in an allowance race, and while it was a very soft field, he did what he had to do and pulled away after a wide move. He was very sharp last season, including a win in the Pimlico Special, but you’ll have to take low odds here while betting that he’ll return to his form from last year, which is no guarantee.
RACE 7 – MAIDEN CLAIMING $25,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 1 MILE (GRASS)
- #3 Strolled On By (5/2) stays on grass for his third start off the layoff, and hasn’t run a bad race on this surface yet. He made only mild ground last out and was third, but put in stronger rallies against better last year. #5 Tipyourhattothat (9/5) was a strong, wide second in his grass debut last out. He almost broke his maiden two starts back on dirt, but faded after a long, wide duel. #8 Left Blank (10/1) has improved in all three of his starts, and could close into the exotics at a price.
- RACE 8: CHALLEDON STAKES, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
- It wouldn’t have been a surprise to see #5 Whereshetoldmetogo (8/5) in the Vanderbilt Handicap, but Russell’s decided to slow-play it a bit and keep him local. He made his first start off a brief layoff a winning one, taking the Alapocas Run Stakes at Delaware going away. It was a nice redemption race for him, as he had won three stakes in a row before a dismal effort in the Frank Whiteley Stakes in April. Looks to keep the positive momentum going here. #4 Laki (2/1) is a hard-knocking veteran who was second behind the very fast Yaupon in the Lite the Fuse Stakes last out. He’s run a 100 twice within his last three starts; he’s the only one in the race to do that even once within his last three. #2 Mucho (3/1) lost by a nose to Kentucky sprinting star Bango in the Kelly’s Landing Stakes at Churchill Downs last out, and he may well have won if he didn’t have some traffic in that stretch. If his nose gets down, he likely goes off at lower odds than you’ll get.
- RACE 9 – STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $32,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
- #6 Ink (5/2) tries winners for the second time and looks to keep moving forward. He fell behind a loose leader last out and didn’t have much chance as a result. Angel Cruz would be wise to be attentive to the pace. #5 Dialing Dixie (7/2) went gate-to-wire to break his maiden two races back, and will try to run them off their feet once again. #2 Rapid Response (8/1) has run back-to-back career tops, grinding his way to a maiden win against weaker at Delaware last out. Lacey Gaudet has been based at Delaware most of the summer, but she’ll ship this one in.
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