5 QUESTIONS FOR SATURDAY’S MD PRIDE STAKES
Saturday’s Maryland Pride/Maryland Strong Day at Pimlico presents four stakes for Maryland-bred or Maryland-sired runners. Two are sprints on the dirt, and two are routes on the turf.
Five things we’ll be looking to learn on the day:
Will Street Lute regain her winning ways in the Miss Disco?
Sophomore filly Street Lute has been dazzlingly productive in her brief career, winning eight of 12 starts, including seven stakes wins, and earning nearly half-a-million dollars. The bad news: three of her four defeats have come in her last four starts. To be fair, she had excuses in all of those defeats – one was too far, one on turf, one involved a bad start – but still… She’s back on the main track at a distance she loves against a manageable field. She’s the even-money favorite, and second choice Malibu Beauty (7-5) is a horse she beat two back despite getting left at the gate.
An upset in the All Brandy?
The grassy All Brandy for fillies and mares is a wide-open affair, with Judi Blue Eyes the 3-1 morning line favorite, though it says here that Quiet Company, who’s never been worse than second in five two-turn turf tries, is the best runner in this spot. But it’s not hard to make a case for others, and we’re especially curious to see 10-1 outsider Forever Dreaming. The three-year-old filly by The Factor was a $300,000 auction purchase as a two-year-old in training. The Michael Dickinson trainee didn’t make her debut until July 16, when she posted a front-running score in a race that didn’t prove a lot: she got away with easy fractions, though she did come home speedily, and none of six to run back has won. But Dickinson has made a career out of zigging when everyone thinks he should zag, and this miss was bred to be something.
- Trevor McCarthy named Jockey of the WeekWith the first Grade 1 victory of his career, jockey Trevor McCarthy has earned Jockey of the Week honors from the Jockeys’ Guild.
Can Alwaysinahurry best another Steve Asmussen trainee?
Last time out, Alwaysinahurry posted a $20 upset in the Concern Stakes, winning by nearly five over Grade 3 winner Mighty Mischief, a Steve Asmussen trainee who was off at 3-10. Trainer Dale Capuano said he wasn’t surprised by the outcome – though perhaps he was the only one – and it wouldn’t be nearly as much of a surprise if the Great Notion gelding struck again in the Star de Naskra Stakes. He’s 3-1 on the morning line in a race in which another Amussen trainee, Jaxon Traveler, is the 6-5 morning line favorite. In the race in which Mighty Mischief earned his graded laurels, the runner-up was Jaxon Traveler. Just sayin’.
Can Alwaysmining add a turf stakes win to his resume in the Find?
Five-year-old Alwaysmining, who ran 11th in the 2019 Preakness won by War of Will, owns seven stakes wins on the main track, on which he’s earned about $600,000. By contrast, he’s 0-for-3 with less than $5,000 in earnings on the grass. But in his last couple grass tries, he sure has kept the right sort of company. Two back he was well beaten in the PG County won by graded stakes winner Pixelate, and last out, in a Delaware Park allowance, he came up less than a length short behind three-time stakes winner Vanzzy. Against a modest field here, that last might be good enough to put him in the mix. Now trained by Cal Lynch, the Stay Thirsty gelding will be hunting his first stakes win since February 2020.
- The (almost) fabulous fillies of the PreaknessBefore Rachel Alexandra and Swiss Skydiver won the Preakness, these four fillies made a major impact on the Middle Jewel without winning it.
Will the fans come out?
Fans have been in short supply during the extended Old Hilltop meet, and it sure would be nice to see a crowd out on Saturday. After all, It’s both Maryland Pride/Maryland Strong Day and fan appreciation day, and it’s the last Saturday of the meet, and there are four stakes on tap, and… Plenty of reasons, no?