PIMLICO PICKS AND PONDERINGS: MAY 25, 2023
In which we pick the races from Pimlico each day…
Post time: 12:25 p.m
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 — $360,285 Super High 5 — $310,285
Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: MAIDEN CLAIMING $45,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 FURLONGS (GRASS)
It’s a beautiful day for racing, and we’ve got some great races on the 8-race docket. #14 Palacsinta (7-2) will need some help to draw into this one, but if she does, she’ll be tough. While she finished last in each of her three grass starts in California, she showed improvement each time out. Last out, she showed speed going a mile and led most of the way before tiring. She adds blinkers and gets the hot-riding Sheldon Russell for her local debut. #8 Mashua (7-2) makes her first start of the year for Phil Capuano and finds an easy group to return to, especially if Palacsinta does not draw in. She sat near the pace and just missed in her last two starts of the season. She’s one of the few in here with established strong grass form. Capuano almost won with a horse first off the long layoff the other day, when Johnyz From Albany finished second in his season debut. #3 Quit Quay (5-1) races on grass for the first time and looks like the main speed of the field. If her form transfers over at all, she should prove tough to catch.
RACE 2: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
Ben Perkins may have a future stakes horse on his hands in #9 St. Jude (7-5). He was well-bet as one of two first-time starters in his debut, and lasted through a duel on the outside to win by 2 1/2 lengths. Four horses in that race have since come back to break their maidens. The outside post shouldn’t be an impediment, as he looks very fast early and has shown an overland trip shouldn’t be a problem. #2 Brilliant Ice (7-2) broke slowly in his last start and was knocked around after that, costing himself all chance. Prior to that, he had run brisnet figures no worse than 89 in his prior five starts, which is better than those of anyone in here except for St. Jude. With a clean start, he should rebound big-time. #1 Askin for a Baskin (10-1) rallied well late for second last out, in a nice bounce-back following some dull efforts. At his best, he has great closing speed and should sit somewhat close to the pace.
- 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: CLAIMING $25,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES (GRASS)
Thanks to those big Preakness week pools, the rainbow pick 6 carryover is now gigantic. #9 Stimulus Maker (7-2) made his first start off a 2 1/2-month layoff last out. He wore down the early leader but couldn’t hold off the closers, including the promising The Addison Pour, and ended up third. Nonetheless, he’s facing an easier field at this condition and has a recent grass start under his belt. #4 Seville Row (6-1) exits the same race. It was his first start of the year, and he made mild ground despite getting blocked in the stretch. Usually, he has better late speed, though he still often leaves himself with too much left to do late. We’ll see if he takes a step forward second off the bench. #1 Super E (8-1) is also a deep closer. He ran two big figures towards the end of last year, and now goes first off the layoff for Hamilton Smith. He ran a respectable 76 under similar circumstances last year, and will contend if he runs like that here.
RACE 4: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 2-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 4 1/2 FURLONGS
The late pick 5 begins here. Unusually for a 2-year-old race at this time of the year, five of these have already raced. #5 Buckin’ Great (5-2) is one of those. She battled on the lead and pulled clear of her dueling partner on debut, but was overtaken by a rival who sat a perfect trip. She’s had a good workout since then and should improve second out for Jerry Robb. #6 Kellan (7-2) is one of two in here for the white-hot Brittany Russell barn. This one sold for $40,000 at last October’s Midlantic Fall Yearling Sale and has a series of sharp workouts at Delaware Park. #7 Just the Thing (5-1) chased the pace and held third first out. We’ll see if she shows more speed here.
RACE 5: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W3X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
I would say that a few of these could’ve run in the Maryland Sprint on Saturday, but they wouldn’t have been competitive with Straight No Chaser anyway. #5 Uncle Ernie (9-5) was in fact entered in the Jim McKay Turf Sprint, but scratched to run here. He ran huge in the Page McKenney Handicap at Parx last out, battling all the way with Twisted Ride and losing by a nose. That rival returned to finish a game second in the Runhappy Stakes at Belmont Park next out. This gelding ran in the 100s a few times last year and rebounded sharply last out after some flat figures at Gulfstream Park. #9 Indian Lake (8-1) turned in a powerful performance to win last out, stalking the pace and opening up by 5 1/4 lengths to run a career-best 99. The two-month layoff earlier in the year might’ve done him some good. He should get a great trip. #7 Witty (3-1) ran two big races to begin his season, but was flat behind Uncle Ernie in the Page McKenney last out. He gets a rider switch to Jevian Toledo, who is winning at 28% in the first two weeks of the meet.
RACE 6: MAIDEN CLAIMING $45,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS
#7 Super Accelerate (7-2) improved dramatically last out. He showed speed and held on most of the way, ultimately finishing second with a career-best 84. He hasn’t raced since that late-February effort, but has some good recent workouts. By contrast, #3 Calming Storm (6-1) broke slowly on debut, but closed well off a hot pace and got fourth. Look for him to be a major factor late once again. #1 Runaholic (6-1) goes third off the layoff and second off the claim by Mark Salvaggio. He’s run back-to-back 74s in his two starts this year, both of which are career-best figures, and has shown the ability to show speed or rate. With plenty of speed signed on in here, we’ll see if he backs off the pace and watches it unfold from the rail.
- 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 OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W2X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 5 FURLONGS (GRASS)
#7 Doctor Jeff (5-2) has gotten better every time he’s raced on grass. He shipped up to Belmont last out and got involved in an early speed duel. While he couldn’t hold off two rivals who sat great trips off the battle, he ended up third, well clear of his dueling partner. He should be tough to deal with on the front end here should Sheldon Russell elect to send. #3 Momos (5-1) was fourth in the same race, after drafting near the pace while wide most of the way. He’s never raced on the Pimlico grass before, but was beaten no more than two lengths in four starts at this level last year. #5 Alogon (6-1) went gate-to-wire to win his first two grass starts last year, then was third last out behind Fluid Situation, who finished third in the Tampa Bay Turf Dash Stakes in his next start. This one hasn’t raced since mid-January, but has worked well at Delaware for Ned Allard.
RACE 8: CLAIMING $10,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
#4 Mr. Cellular (8-5) is the only one in the field who has run in the 70s in each of his last three starts. He broke his maiden in solid style two starts back at Gulfstream, then was third despite a very wide trip in his most recent. #7 Jones Falls (5-1) broke his maiden in upset fashion second time out in January and gets some class relief after facing better in his last two starts. #9 Don Bernardo (8-1) handled the stretch-out to a mile with ease last out when he got up for the victory, matching his career-best of 70. He’s going around two turns on dirt for the second time ever in his third start off the layoff.