PIMLICO PICKS AND PONDERINGS: May 26, 2022
In which we pick the races from Pimlico each day…
Post time: 12:40 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $432,827 Super High 5 — $0 Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: MAIDEN CLAIMING $40,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/8 MILES (GRASS)
9-8-7-4 (DIRT: 6-9-1-4)
As soon as we celebrated opening week at Pimlico, now it’s time for closing week. #9 Cush Effect (5/2) showed promise in her grass debut, coming from off a slow pace to get third, with a sharp brisnet figure of 73. She’s had traffic trouble in every start but looms large if she can avoid it. #8 Vodkatini (3/1) gets on the lawn for the first time. She didn’t show much last out in her first start off the layoff last out, but it’s possible that was simply designed as a prep for a race like this. Jevian Toledo, who has been riding insanely well this meet, gets the call. Recent workouts have been very sharp. A fellow Mike Stidham trainee, #7 Freeze the Day (9/2), raced on grass at Gulfstream Park and Fair Grounds over the winter, and improved big-time in her second grass start when she closed for third after falling behind slow fractions.
RACE 2: CLAIMING $12,500, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/8 MILES
#5 Bahama Channel (2/1) consistently runs in the 80s and has the best late pace figures in the field. He is susceptible to getting caught behind slow fractions in a largely paceless contest, so he will have to stay closer to the early leaders than usual. #3 One Two Kid (3/1) went gate-to-wire in his last dirt start and it looks like he could get away with an easy lead here. Jamie Ness puts Jeiron Barbosa in the saddle, as his usual first-call rider, Jaime Rodriguez, is camped out at Delaware Park. We’ll see if Barbosa can finish strong after a tough start to the meet. #6 Percher (6/1) has improved in his last three starts and takes a drop in class. He can close for a piece.
- Jockey Sheldon Russell “really close” to return to racesJockey Sheldon Russell, out with injuries for the last nine months, is “really close” to returning to the races, his agent said.
RACE 3: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 FURLONGS (GRASS)
5-7-3-2 (DIRT: 7-3-2-1)
The rainbow pick 6 starts here. We have to fade four more days before a massive mandatory payout on Monday. Forest Boyce and Shug McGaughey are always dangerous on the Maryland grass, and they’ll team up here with #5 Point Well Taken (7/2). She showed speed for the first time and faded last out going long at Keeneland, and now cuts back to a sprint for the first time. I don’t know if she’ll like this distance, but it’s a big class drop and she can win on back-class. #7 Visby (7/5) battled gamely throughout in her debut on dirt and lost by a length. La Casa d’Oro, who beat her that day, ran in the Miss Preakness Stakes last Friday but was well-beaten. If this one transfers her form to grass she’ll be tough on the lead. #3 Spotake (5/2) debuts for the Brittany Russell/Jevian Toledo combination and has plenty of good workouts, including a recent one on grass.
RACE 4: CLAIMING $10,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
#7 Moon Biz (3/1) ran a gutsy race on the lead last out and is one of several speed threats in here. Although she has a tough draw, she also has some of the best early pace figures. If Juan Alvelo is aggressive enough, she’ll get to the lead and the rail quickly, and should be in good shape from there. #4 Special Freedom (5/2) goes second off the claim for Ferris Allen and cuts back from a mile. She’s much better-suited for sprints and will take advantage if there’s a pace meltdown. #1 Some is Nine (9/2) broke her maiden in her 12th career start last night in a gate-to-wire effort. She’ll try to protect rail position on the front end.
RACE 5: MAIDEN CLAIMING $16,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
#7 Doomscroller (7/5) has been well-beaten against better in her three starts, but now faces an easier field than she’s ever seen. She’s run at least a 67 in each of her two dirt races, a mark the rest of these struggle to hit at all. #2 Lookin Spunky (10/1) had a very awkward break on debut last out, swerving out and losing tons of ground, but recovered to cross the wire fourth. She should improve if she knows how to break. #5 Swayin to and Fro (8/1) makes her first start of the year and improved a bit second time out, which was also her season finale. This’ll be her first start fort he Hamilton Smith barn.
RACE 6: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, MD-BRED, 5 FURLONGS (GRASS)
1-5-8-12 (DIRT: 11-2-10-4)
#1 Fool Yourself (5/1) makes her first start of the year here, and her first grass appearance since last October. She’s shown affinity for grass before, including a strong closing bid in the Maryland Million Ladies in her most recent grass start. The distance is the only question. In contrast, #5 Whiteknuckleflyer (9/2) is a pure grass sprinter, having broken her maiden going 5 1/2 furlongs at Laurel Park and just missing a few starts prior. Dale Capuano is a solid 21% with horses coming off a 90+ day break. #8 Golden Can (5/2) didn’t do much in her first start of the year last out, but it was on dirt. She likely stayed in the washed-off affair just to get a race into her. She now wheels back in seven days and will be tough on the lead.
- BackTracks: Challedon, dominant in Maryland & beyondIn today’s BackTracks, Maryland-bred Challedon became the first two-time horse of the year after dominating 1939 and 1940.
RACE 7: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS
#4 Mose Perfect (3/1) outran expectations on debut. He came from well off the pace to win at 19/1 against $25,000 types, with an impressive figure of 84. I’m not sure how his closing style will play on this track, but he’ll get overlooked in the betting compared to #5 Rominski (7/5). He went off as the solid favorite in his first start of the year, and although he was outkicked by the victorious Super Love, he pulled well clear of the others and finished second with a career-best figure of 86. Should get the trip near the pace and be in a prime position to pounce. #1 Free Square (6/1) races for the Jerry Robb/Xavier Perez duo. They’ve knocked on the door all meet long, but have not yet won a race. This one will show speed on the inside and try to take them all the way around.
RACE 8: MAIDEN CLAIMING $40,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS
#2 Frightland (3/5) is pretty scary to the rest of the field. He ran an 80 in his debut two starts back, a figure no one else has come close to. Should have no trouble with this group. #6 Rixey Rocket (9/2) switches to dirt for his second career starts, gets a jockey switch to Victor Carrasco, and adds lasix. #5 Take Charge Too (5/1) has worked well for Kieron Magee and looks primed for a big effort in his debut.