PIMLICO PICKS AND PONDERINGS: SEPTEMBER 24, 2022

In which we pick the races from Pimlico each day…

Post time: 12:40 p.m.

Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $3,027 Super High 5 — $520 Late Pick 5 — $0

Check out our other handicapping here!

RACE 1: MAIDEN CLAIMING $45,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 1 1/8 MILES (GRASS)

5-8-4-3

What a day of racing! Eleven races, four great stakes races, some fantastic allowance races, and perfect weather to boot! Can’t ask for much more. #5 Baton (9-2) made his first start on grass and his debut bow of the year last out. He couldn’t track down a loose leader, but he battled gamely in the stretch and got up for second, beaten just a half-length. He has room to build off that race and will be very tough if he does. #8 Hooky Player (8-5) raced wide at Monmouth Park throughout last out and lost by a nose against a rival who saved ground most of the way. This one is taking a drop in class on paper, but this is probably not that much softer a field than the one he saw in Jersey. He has a good shot but he wouldn’t be worth a bet at his morning line. #4 Ripken (9-2) hasn’t lost by more than 2 1/2 lengths in four grass starts at this level this year, but of course has not yet broken through. He’ll likely get his trip on the rail or one path off it and hang around late for a share.

RACE 2: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS

1-3-5-6

#1 Berks (2-1) has early speed and a rail draw, a dangerous combination. He went gate-to-wire in his last dirt start, and two races ago was second to stakes-placed speedster Al Loves Josie. #3 Manolito (9-2) tried to stretch out to a mile at Colonial Downs last out, and it didn’t go so well. Prior to that, he was in great form at shorter distances, running back-to-back brisnet figures of 86 and 87. Should do much better on the cutback to six panels. #5 Magic Mule (7-2) has gotten plenty of checks at this level this year. He’s been very consistent and should get another piece of the pie, but he’ll have to improve a few points and hope the others regress to win this one.

  • Winning Time scores in PA Nursery
    Debut winner Winning Time handled the step up to stakes company with aplomb, winning Tuesday’s $200,000 Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes at Parx.

RACE 3: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 FURLONGS (GRASS)

8-7-2-1

#8 Maya Prince (7-2) broke his maiden first off the layoff at Colonial last out. As the odds-on choice, he rated off the lead and got up in the last few jumps. He ran a relatively average 76 that day, but he ran an 84 second time out at Gulfstream Park before going on the sidelines, so he could run back to that race second time off the layoff. #7 Monster Mason (4-1) has been very consistent against similar types all year, but has yet to break through from seven starts on grass. He has great closing speed and will be involved in the last eighth. #2 Pickin Sea Glass (6-1) is the main speed of the field and will try to take them gate-to-wire.

RACE 4: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W2X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES

5-3-4-1A

A great field of older horses lines up in this one. #5 Benandjoe (9-2) was dull in his last start on June 26 after a wide trip, but ran three consecutive 92s prior to that race, including a victory on the speed-favoring Preakness day track. Something must have been amiss in his last race, because he has not been seen since. He came back to the worktab in mid-August and is now ready for his first start back. If he fires first off the bench, he’s going to be tough. He’s going to show early speed, and his toughest competition on the front end might come from #3 Goodluckchuck (6-1). He’s won his last four dirt races, including an impressive gate-to-wire win at Timonium. He defeated Welling by open lengths that day, who came back to win a first-level allowance race on Pimlico opening day. This one’s going first off the claim by Kieron Magee. #4 Dixie Drawl (7-2) has been steadily improving in his last few starts, and would’ve improved by even more last out if Jorge Ruiz didn’t misjudge the wire in a one-turn mile race at Laurel Park. He doesn’t have to worry about that here, fortunately.

RACE 5: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE (GRASS)

6-5-12-3

Man, what a field! This race features three graded stakes winners, including a grade 1 winner in Decorated Invader, who won the 2019 Summer Stakes at Woodbine. However, he hasn’t raced since May 22…of 2021. In fact, a lot of these runners are coming off long breaks. They might prove so classy that it doesn’t matter, but I’ll go hunting for value somewhere else. #6 English Tavern (5-1) was almost a stakes winner, as he crossed the wire first by a nose in the Prince George’s County Stakes a few starts back. However, he was disqualified. Since then, he’s been competitive against stakes company here and at Colonial, and he won here on Black-Eyed Susan day with a great move up the rail. He’s in career-best form at the moment and has a chance to pull off a mild upset. #5 Wootton Asset (6-1) won the Virginia Derby last fall at Colonial, but hasn’t raced since he was well-beaten in the Twilight Derby at Santa Anita Park. He’s been working consistently for a long time now, and Graham Motion has now finally seen him to fit to drop him in the box. Motion tends to do well with horses off long breaks, so I’m expecting a big race. He was in improving form towards the end of last year. We’ll likely see #12 Cannon’s Roar (6-1) in the Maryland Million Turf in a few weeks, and if he wins this race, he’ll establish himself as the favorite for the October contest. He just missed in two allowance tries earlier in the year, including a narrow defeat to stakes winner Nathan Detroit. He was flat in the Da Hoss Stakes last out and looks for improvement here. Sheldon Russell gets aboard for the first time since last August; he’ll try to save as much ground as possible while rating near the pace.

RACE 6: MAIDEN CLAIMING $45,000, 2-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS

1-10-2-9

The rainbow pick 6 begins with a chaotic maiden race. #1 Long Rap Sheet (9-2) has put together a series of good five-furlong workouts and now goes first-time out for Dale Capuano. Capuano’s had three winners from five 2-year-old first-timers this year. #10 Shackinthebox (6-1) recovered well from a bad start to get fourth in his first start. He has a chance if he breaks cleanly this time. #2 Order Ofthe Kettle (3-1) is the younger half-brother of multiple stakes-placed filly Click to Confirm and two other winners. He’s worked well for Brittany Russell and should take some action in his first start.

RACE 7: SENSIBLE LADY TURF DASH, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 FURLONGS (GRASS)

6-8-7-12

The first of four stakes races on today’s card is named for Sensible Lady, who won six stakes races in a 13-month stretch in 2012 and 2013. The box overflowed for this one, with sixteen entries. #6 Dontletsweetfoolya (12-1) is my upset pick in this one. She ran a big race on the lead at Colonial last out, setting the pace and holding on to win by a half-length. She ran a 95 in that race, the best last-out figure in the field. The second-place finisher, Charlie’s Penny, won a stakes race at Canterbury Park next out. This one looks fast enough to get to the lead by herself and will have to forget how to stop. #8 Miss J McKay (5-2) ships down here for Christophe Clement. She won the License Fee Stakes earlier in the year, then had some rough trips up in Saratoga. With such a big field, she’s susceptible to getting caught in traffic once again, but it’s also an easier group than the fields she was facing up north. #7 Spun Glass (10-1) has won restricted stakes races in her last two starts. In both of those races, she found a seam in the stretch and got up late. Feargal Lynch will likely have to work out a similar trip to win this one.

RACE 8: WEATHER VANE STAKES, 3-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 6 FURLONGS

2-4-9-7

Weather Vane was one of the top Maryland-bred female sprinters of the 1990s. She won fourteen stakes races in her career and earned more than $700,000. #2 Smash Ticket (2-1) won her 3-year-old debut in style at Lone Star Park in late May, then went up to Saratoga and hung on gamely to win a first-level race, with a figure of 100. She held off the late charge of Betsy Blue in that race, who has since won two allowance races at Saratoga and Aqueduct. #4 Elm Drive (9-2) is coming off a dull race in the Test Stakes, where she chased the pace and was well-beaten. However, if you take out that line, her form looks a lot better. She’s run two figures in the 90s this year, including a stakes win at Santa Anita earlier this year. She adds lasix for the first time and will press the pace. #9 Famed (7-2) was an impressive winner at Ellis Park last out, drawing off in the stretch despite not changing leads. She looks ready for a breakthrough performance.

RACE 9: POLYNESIAN STAKES, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES

6-1-9-4

Polynesian won the 1945 Preakness Stakes and went on to sire Native Dancer. #6 Sea Foam (4-1) made his season debut in the Evan Shipman Handicap last out, and broke from post seven in a one-turn mile at Saratoga. That post is never good news, and Sea Foam took the brunt of it as he raced wide throughout. However, he overcame ground loss and lost by a nose to multiple stakes winner Bankit. He should get a much easier trip here. #1 Ain’t Da Beer Cold (6-1) has won his last two starts, sitting good stalking trips in both of those races. He just missed his lifetime-top two races back with a figure of 92, and is starting to round into career-best form. #9 Benevengo (5-1) beat older horses in June at Monmouth Park and led most of the way in the Haskell before tiring late. He’s shown he can rate, but Angel Cruz, who is riding him for the first time, will likely try to send him and outrun Sea Foam.

RACE 10: LAUREL DASH, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 FURLONGS (GRASS)

4-2-5-3

Even though this race is not being held at Laurel this year, the name stays the same. #4 Matta (6-1) ran a season’s best figure of 92 last time at Colonial, when he crossed the wire second in the Da Hoss Stakes but was disqualified due to interference. He’s been consistent against these types and should go off at a good price. #2 Grateful Bred (7-2) has finished second four times is stakes company this year. His best is good enough to win this and he should sit the trip. #5 Carotari (5-2) won the Jim McKay on this track earlier in the year and will be sent guns blazing for the lead.

RACE 11: CLAIMING $25,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS

8-6-4-1

#8 Shinelikeadiamond (7-2) ran on well late at Timonium last out and goes second off the claim by Dale Capuano. She’s run between a 70 and a 72 in her last three races. #6 Lady Whistledown (8-1) fought hard throughout to break her maiden third time out last time. She’s one of three in here without a loss against winners and his the lightest-raced of that group. #4 Fortes (6-1) ran a 78 when closing for second at five furlongs last out, but has yet to come through at this level despite countless chances.

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