PIMLICO PICKS AND PONDERINGS: SEPTEMBER 10, 2022
In which we pick the races from Pimlico each day…
Post time: 12:40 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $0 Super High 5 — $1,121 Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: MAIDEN CLAIMING $12,500, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS
Today’s 10-race card features four stakes races. Should be a great day of racing at Old Hilltop. Lots of contenders in here are professional maidens, so I’ll lean towards a bit of an outsider. #3 Awesome Dynamo (8-1) stopped badly on the lead in his first start off the layoff two races back, but improved a bit in his second start of the year. He battled on the pace and was in contention until the final three-sixteenths, holding on for a fifth-place finish, beaten 6 1/4 lengths. He’s going to be one of the main speed threats in this race. #7 Bliss This (5-2) always races well, but has become a serious sucker horse. Three times at the Laurel Park summer meet, he went off at even money or less and lost every time. In his career, he has no wins from nine starts, but three seconds and five thirds. He’s the perfect type to key underneath in an exacta. #8 Crimson Rocket (9-5) is lightly-raced but is taking a rather dramatic plunge down the class ladder. He was racing in maiden special weights in New York just a few months ago. He pressed the pace and held well for second in his grass debut for Brittany Russell, and now switches back to dirt.
RACE 2: CLAIMING $25,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/8 MILES (GRASS)
#3 Calloway Peak (3-1) overcame a wide trip to break his maiden for a $40,000 tag at Saratoga last out. That race was probably roughly equivalent in quality to a straight maiden race down here. He’s never run worse than a 76 in six career grass races; any of those efforts probably wins this one. #5 Pursuing Pace (9-2) is also coming off a maiden-breaking win. He came from out of the clouds to win going away against maiden claimers at Laurel Park, matching his career-best figure with a 77. It’s not clear if his dramatic late running style will work against better, but he’s worth a use in multi-race bets. #8 T Rex (9-2) has turned it on in his last few starts, with career-best figures in his last two starts. He ran an 85 in a maiden-breaking performance at Parx last out, with a good ground-saving trip. He’ll try to work out a similar setup here.
- Art Collector scores in G1 PegasusArt Collector drew off in the stretch for a dominant win at long odds in Saturday’s G1 Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park.
RACE 3: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W1X), 2-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS
Three horses look like they’ll dominate this one, two of whom are Maryland Million-eligible. #7 Heldish (9-5) broke his maiden impressively two starts back to give Sheldon Russell his first win of the year, then ran a game race to get second behind Simply Super in the Hickory Tree Stakes at Colonial Downs. He improved to a 94 in that race; anything close to that effort wins this one. #6 Johnyz From Albany (2-1) prompted the pace and won going away to break his maiden on debut last out. Heldish will likely set the pace, and if he clears to the front from the outside post, Johnyz From Albany can prompt him from the outside and try to wear him down. #1 Super Chow (8-5) has some impressive class lines, having broken his maiden on debut at Gulfstream Park, followed by a third-place effort in the Saratoga Special Stakes. His figures are impressive but not dominant compared to those of Heldish or Johnnyz From Albany. As such, he’s likely to get overbet. Still, his early speed is dangerous.
RACE 4: STARTER ALLOWANCE $5,000, 3-YEAR-ODLS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
The top two finishers from race 6 at Delaware Park on August 23, #5 He’s Incredible (3-1) and #6 Substantial (9-5), meet up again here. Both sat just off the pace, and while He’s Incredible led clearly late, Substantial got up in the last jump. Both have good tactical speed and similar figures, but Substantial, who’s riding a three-race winning streak, is likely go off at a much lower price. If that nose went a bit the other way, it might be a different story in the wagering. As such, I think He’s Incredible is the better bet. #3 Rock and Fellers (5-1) has hit the board in his last seven races and will set the early pace from the rail.
RACE 5: MAIDEN CLAIMING $30,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 MILE (GRASS)
#9 Lunar Ice (7-2) stretched out around two turns for the first time last out, and responded with a career-best figure of 86 in a sharp second-place effort. She drops from the $45,000 level here and will draft near the pace on the outside. #12 Meliponini Bee (10-1) ran a big race on the lead last out at Colonial Downs. She dueled on the early pace and held on for fifth. Her dueling partner, who went off as the favorite, finished 18 1/4 lengths behind her. This one doesn’t have a great draw but is a threat at a price if she can work out a trip. #3 Call Me Vivian (15-1) closed well off a strong pace to finish third last out at 42-1. You probably won’t get those odds here, but she’s nonetheless worth a look at what should be a good number. She’s lightly-raced and has improved with every grass starts.
RACE 6: SHINE AGAIN STAKES, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
The first of four stakes races on the card is named for the top Maryland-bred sprinter who won the Ballerina Handicap at Saratoga in 2001 and 2002, among her seven stakes wins. I think Maryland-breds have a chance to make a big impact on this one; my top two picks are Maryland-breds. #8 Canoodle (8-1) gets a class test here, but her recent form is good enough to win this one. She got up to win over Spicy Margarita in a n/w1x race last out, earning a figure of 87. She’s consistently run in that range this year, and will work out a trip rating on the outside. #9 Mattitude (10-1) was in improving form on dirt earlier in the year, winning her last two starts on the surface by a combined 9 3/4 lengths. She’s raced on grass in her last few races, somewhat obscuring her form. Nonetheless, she ran as high as an 88 on this surface this year, and will be tough if she recaptures that ability. #10 Oxana (5-2) ships in from Monmouth Park for this one. This Pennsylvania-bred filly runs in the 90s on her best days. Her only bad figure in her last three starts, a 79, came when she won a third-level race at Monmouth Park at 1-20, and was not seriously asked to run. With New York dark this weekend, Dylan Davis has picked up a few mounts here, including this one. It’s not an ideal draw, but her best race wins this one.
- BackTracks: Star de Naskra “really something”In a new BackTracks: Maryland-bred Star de Naskra gave owner-breeder Jiggs Lancaster his first stakes winner in a long career — and then a whole lot more.
RACE 7: ALL ALONG STAKES, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/8 MILES (GRASS)
Here’s some Saturday trivia: the last Horse of the Year to race at Laurel Park to date was All Along, who won the 1983 Washington D.C. International en route to year-end honors. It’s no secret that Chad Brown is dangerous in grass races all over the east coast, and Maryland is no exception. He won the Gallorette Stakes earlier this year with Technical Analysis, and the Selima Stakes last year with Consumer Spending. Here, he’s shipped #3 Capital Structure (7-2) down here in pursuit of her first stakes win. She’s ran a solid fourth at Belmont Park in June in her first start off a long break, then won a second-level race at Saratoga impressively last out, overcoming very slow fractions in the process. If she goes off near her morning line, it would be very generous. #4 Plum Ali (9-5) also ships down for a big-name New York trainer. In this case, she’s racing for Christophe Clement, who had an excellent Saratoga season. This filly ran an impressive 98 two starts back when fourth in a tough renewal of the Nassau Stakes at Woodbine, and followed it up with a second-place finish in the De La Rose Stakes from off the pace. She has plenty of back-class, with three stakes wins in her career. #5 In a Hurry (5-2) goes out for Shug McGaughey and Forest Boyce, who are dangerous when they team up anywhere in the Mid-Atlantic. She’s hit the board in similar company four times this year, and was outkicked by Argentine star Didia last out at Colonial. She’ll try to put it all together here.
RACE 8: LITE THE FUSE STAKES, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
Lite the Fuse is the only two-time winner of the DeFrancis Dash, winning it in 1995 and 1996. #6 Nimitz Class (6-1) is the lone 3-year-old in the field, and I’m taking a shot with him to pull the upset. He likes to rate just off the pace, a strategy that has worked well for him so far in sprints this year. He closed off a very fast pace to win the Danzig Stakes at Penn National a few starts back, and ran on well after a bad start to get second in the Concern Stakes next out. There’s lots of speed in here, and if the pacesetters burn each other out, Nimitz Class will be there to pick up the pieces. #1 Wudda U Think Now (7-2) came from just off the lead to win the John Morrissey Handicap at Saratoga last out, and will try to work out a similar trip stalking the pace on the rail. He was in exceptional form over the winter at Aqueduct, running back-to-back figures of 115 and 108. Trevor McCarthy comes back for the mount. #2 Jaxon Traveler (5-2) is the only one in the field with a win over this track. In fact, he’s won on it three times, most recently in this year’s Maryland Sprint Stakes. The home-track advantage will help but he is susceptible to getting caught in a pace duel.
RACE 9: BALTIMORE/WASHINGTON TURF CUP, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE (GRASS)
The reincarnated version of the Washington D.C. International drew a field of seven. #6 Set Piece (2-1) won on this track earlier this year, taking the Dinner Party Stakes with an impressive rally from well off the pace. He was unable to capture the magic again in his next two starts, but he should find this field easier than the one he saw in, say, the Arlington Million. Not to mention, with fewer rivals to contend with, he minimizes the risk of getting caught in traffic. #1 Public Sector (5-2), another member of the Chad Brown contingent, reeled off a three-race winning streak against graded stakes company last year as a 3-year-old. Although his figures have improved as a 4-year-old, he’s found the waters a bit deeper, having finished no better than third in four starts this year. His figures are competitive with these and he’s hoping to finally get a breakthrough score for the year. Maryland-bred #4 Field Pass (8-1), who won this race last year, was entered here and in the WinStar Minit Million at Kentucky Downs today, along with an overnight handicap at the southern Kentucky oval on Wednesday. At writing time, it remained to be seen which spot he’d go in. He won this race last year and looks for a rebound off a dull effort in the Arlington Million last out. He consistently ran 93s and 94s earlier this year.
RACE 10: MAIDEN CLAIMING $12,500, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
#5 Following Wind (7-2) showed speed and faded in her first career start on grass last out. Switches to dirt here and will try to build on that race. #9 C Two (6-1) ran in the 60s consistently last fall but hasn’t raced since November. She might need one first off the bench. #4 Kobe’s Girl (2-1) has run in the 70s twice in her last three starts, however, she’s hit the board in her last four races without a win. Those are some dangerous lines for a horse who’s likely to be a very low price.