PIMLICO PICKS AND PONDERINGS: MAY 18, 2023
In which we pick the races from Pimlico each day…
Post time: 12:25 p.m
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $6,159 Super High 5 — $0
Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: STARTER ALLOWANCE $5,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
Preakness week begins with an 8-race card. #5 Mrs. Del (5-2) made her first start off the claim by Lynn Cash last out, and got up to win by a nose after a great stalking trip. She’s back in against #1 Dulce Kiara (3-1) who has shown speed and gotten caught late in her last few starts. Having the rail on a speed-favoring track may benefit Dulce Kiara, but if she can’t hold on, Mrs. Del will be there to sit the trip and get the jump. #3 Backstreet Affair (10-1) has hit the board in her last four starts and takes a slight step up in class first off the claim by Crystal Pickett. She should be heard from late.
RACE 2: CLAIMING $25,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 FURLONGS (GRASS)
#8 Twelveo’clockrock (5-2) was claimed out of her last start on January 15 by Donald Barr, a race that proved to be fruitful by $10,000 n/w3L standards. She hasn’t raced since, and now returns to a surface on which she showed some aptitude last year, with four straight brisnet figures in the 70s. #7 Imagine Victory (6-1) goes first off a similar 3 1/2-month layoff for Pickett. She didn’t show much in her grass debut, but closed sharply for second in her most recent try on the surface last October. #1 Imnotonetocomplain (4-1) overcame a tough trip to clear her n/w2L condition last fall. She came from off the pace that day, but usually she’s closer to the pace. The most prominent speed horse in the field is drawn to her direct outside, but at least she’ll have the opportunity to protect rail position.
- Nick’s Turf 10: Busy weekendFour weekend turf stakes for sophomores impacted the latest edition of Nick’s Turf 10, with the top-ranked runners running like it.
RACE 3: MAIDEN CLAIMING $20,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS, 1 1/16 MILES
#6 New York Panther (2-1) was no match for the contenders in his first start for the Brittany Russell barn, then closed well from off the pace to get third at Aqueduct in his most recent. Though it was a more visually impressive race, he ran a lower figure in that race (71) than he did in his first start for Russell (73). If he handles two turns, he should beat these easily. #1 Alligator Arms (5-2) did nothing in his debut going long, but has shown heart after flashing speed in sprints in his last two starts. Has he moved forward in general since his debut, or is he a bona fide one-turn horse? We’ll find out. #7 Band Camp (9-2) improved 11 points up to a 71 second time out. He runs the risk of getting caught wide, but should show some decent late punch if he gets a good trip.
RACE 4: CLAIMING $12,500, 3-YEAR-OLDS, 1 1/16 MILES
#4 Fowl Nation (8-5) has won his last two starts easily, running in the 80s both times. No one else in here can run that type of race consistently. If this one breaks cleanly and gets to the front, it could be over. #3 He’s on Fire (9-2) has very in-and-out form, though his poor effort two starts back can be explained away by a wide trip. He held third at this level last out, though he was no match for Fowl Nation. He should stalk and hold on for a slice once again. #2 Alvy (5-2) closed well into a disadvantageous pace scenario last out, running a career-best 75 in the process.
RACE 5: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $12,500, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/8 MILES
#2 Lost My Vowcher (2-1) beat a similar field impressively in his last start and has rounded into career-best form, running a 92 and an 86 in his last two outings. #3 Velvet Ghost (7-2) has gotten away with some easy paces in his last few starts, but he should be able to at least control the tempo in this spot. #5 Galatians (6-1) was scratched out of a spot last week where he would’ve been favored to run here. He ran a 90, his best figure in months, in an impressive victory last out. It was very out-of-character from his other recent races, where he sat near the pace and ground on late for a minor share. Can he turn in another big performance?
RACE 6: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $30,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE (GRASS)
After taking almost all of 2021 off, #6 Kendama (9-2) made his first start off a 16 1/2-month layoff last June. He was consistently solid on grass, running no worse than an 81 in seven tries on this surface, but always rated near the pace and did not display a serious late punch. Still, he’s returning in a race where he has consistently the best figures, and where not many of his biggest rivals have raced in a while, either. It could be a perfect storm. #3 Colbaloaf (6-1) didn’t miss the board in four tries on the grass at Penn National last year, including a game third-place effort in the Lebanon Valley Stakes. He should be near the early pace and might find himself cruising on the front end. #1 Semper Fi (7-2) ran in the 90s twice over the winter on dirt, and will try to transfer that form to grass. He won on this surface in December 2020 at Gulfstream Park, where he raced wide throughout and kicked away late, but is 0-for-6 on it since. The Jamie Ness/Jaime Rodriguez combo always attracts a lot of money.
- Keri Brion looking to make a splash at Delaware ParkKeri Brion is best known as a steeplechase trainer, but with a string at Delaware Park, she’s looking to make her name in the flat racing world.
RACE 7: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/8 MILES
#6 Montauk Point (5-2) set honest fractions while wide at Aqueduct last out, but held in gamely until the last eighth. He’s run a 94 in each of his last two starts, while his rivals struggle to get within four points of that. #8 Romp (10-1) has been in consistently solid form since joining the Carlos Mancilla barn. He also raced wide in his last start but got up to win in a game effort, albeit over softer rivals. #10 Your Analysis (10-1) sat a perfect trip and ran huge to break his maiden last out. He’s lightly-raced and in improving form, so even if he doesn’t get the dream setup again, he can rate and rally for a share.
RACE 8: CLAIMING $16,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
#7 Shadow Box (3-1) broke his maiden in gate-to-wire style at Charles Town two races ago, then almost pulled it off at Laurel Park last out before getting caught late. He’s only raced three times in his whole career, while everyone else has lost against winners at least five times. That gives him the advantage in my book. #4 Sir Smoak (3-1) was no match for Cajun Dream’s front-running escapades on the souped-up strip last Thursday, but he outkicked the others and secured second. Even if Shadow Box steals away on the lead, if this one duplicates his last effort he’s in good shape. Stablemate #6 Superstitieux (5-1) drops from the $40,000 level and has run in the 70s in his last three starts, improving his figure slightly each time.