PIMLICO PICKS AND PONDERINGS: may 26, 2023
In which we pick the races from Pimlico each day…
Post time: 12:25 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 —$385,699 Jackpot Super High 5 — $359,601 Late Pick 5– $36,279
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: MAIDEN CLAIMING $45,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 1 1/8 MILES (GRASS)
We’ll kick off Memorial Day Friday with the first of two divisions of maiden claiming company. #7 Fixitwithforward (6-1) has been no factor in three career starts, but all of them were against much better rivals in Kentucky. He earned a brisnet figure of 78 while well-beaten at Keeneland last out, easily the best number anyone in the field has run in the lawn. He gets Jevian Toledo aboard for his local debut and should enjoy the class relief. #1 Master Oogway (6-1) usually has early speed and should be forwardly-placed in this spot. He couldn’t get to the front last out at Gulfstream Park and showed little, but ran back-to-back figures in the 70s while showing early speed in his prior two races. #3 Elfuegomasbriliante (8-1) was a hard-charging third last out at Laurel Park, albeit against softer rivals than the horses here. It was his second start on grass, and he improved ten points from his first start on this surface.
RACE 2: CLAIMING $10,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
#9 The Last Scip (4-1) has run a 78 twice in his last three starts, far superior to what his rivals have been doing lately. He was a game second at this level last out behind Its Over, who turned in back-to-back second-place finishes in his next two starts. This one hasn’t raced since January 20, but has worked well. #5 Miss You Ajax (6-1) made a strong move from towards the rail last out, but could not wear down Patriotic Party and settled for second. That said, it was the first time in a while he’s shown that kind of closing kick. #4 Sheer Element (6-1) ran a career-best 70 when well-beaten by better last out. He’s since worked well and looks to improve second off the layoff.
- 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 $45,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 1 1/8 MILES (GRASS)
#6 Northern Rye (4-1) closed for third as the lone first-time starter in the field last out, in a race where a vastly superior favorite blew the field away and gave Northern Rye no chance to catch him. Mike Trombetta is also much better second-time out. #11 Zevon (6-1) was flat first time out, but rebounded nicely next out when he prompted the pace and held on for third while improving his figure 11 points. He’ll race for the first time since October 29. #8 Rector (5-1) lost a photo to Northern Rector in his grass debut last out, and now adds blinkers.
RACE 4: CLAIMING $5,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/16 MILES
While the last line of #2 Esperannna (7-5) looks abysmal, she had a valid excuse. She was forced into setting a brutally fast pace, going the first half more than two second faster than she had in her prior race. She looks like the main speed here, and as such should bounce back and wire them without much trouble. #1 Viking Queen (3-1) raced wide throughout and finished well behind Esperannna in her most recent. She’s been very consistent as of late, running either a 73 or a 74 four times in her last five starts, and should get a more ground-saving trip here. #4 Love is Strong (4-1) closed off a slow pace to win going away last out, but now gets a class hike.
RACE 5: MAIDEN CLAIMING $12,500, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
The late pick 5, with a very juicy carryover, begins here. The pool will get into the six figures. #2 West Coast Wildcat (9-2) got entangled in a very contested duel on debut and faded badly. For her second start, she’s going first off the claim for Brittany Russell, who took her for $20,000 and is now dropping her in class. We’ll see if she improves with experience. #5 Watch Me Disappear (3-1) was a well-beaten second first off a very long layoff in her most recent. She ran in the low-70s a few times on grass last year. If she transfers that form to dirt, she’ll be tough to beat. #6 Lily Mor (10-1) lasted a long way on the lead in her first two starts, but was bumped around at the break last out and didn’t contend from there. That obscures her form a bit and could drive up her price.
RACE 6: CLAIMING $16,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/8 MILES (GRASS)
#3 Feminista (8-1) tried the jumps a few times last fall, but didn’t have much aptitude for them. Take out those races, and it’s easier to see that she’s been in solid form on the flats. She ran a 70 back-to-back times at Colonial Downs last summer, including a game maiden victory. She’s making her first start of the year here, and looks like the value play of the group. #8 Toss a Coin (5-1) was a strong-closing third into a difficult pace scenario in her last grass start, which came at Laurel in October. She’s been in middling form on dirt for a while but should wake up with a surface switch. Her stablemate, #5 Proper Storm (3-1), raced in the 70s twice in three grass starts back in 2021, getting stuck in impossible pace scenarios every time. She returned to the races earlier this year, but didn’t do much in three starts on dirt. With any sort of honest pace, she should run a big race here.
- 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: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 2-YEAR-OLDS, 4 1/2 FURLONGS
Nothing but first-time starters in this field. #2 Gotts Got It (9-2) has more workouts in the field than anyone, having worked steadily since mid-March. He’s had some good recent drills at Presque Isle Downs, and ships down here in search of a debut victory. Father and son will square off here, as John Salzman Sr. sends out #3 Street Tough (8-1), while John Jr. has #7 Malibu Slew (6-1). The former turned in a sharp three-furlong workout recently and looks primed for a dash like this. The latter is the latest for a barn that always wins early, and in fact swept the first two juvenile races of the Maryland season. Jevian Toledo will climb aboard.
RACE 8: STARTER OPTONAL CLAIMING $20,000, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 FURLONGS (GRASS)
#9 Shasta Star (2-1) has by far the best recent grass form in the field. She slingshotted from off the pace and soundly beat a slightly softer field in her most recent, with an impressive 88. The only horses who are close to her figure-wise haven’t raced in a while. #5 Mundle of Joy (5-2) is a prime example. She ran in the low 80s twice last year on grass at Delaware, but hasn’t raced since last September. She has abundant early speed and will try to sneak away from them early. #1 A Girl Named Jac (6-1) almost won on dirt two races back, and may well have won if she didn’t get into some late traffic. She should get a good setup near the pace on the rail; if she can get free late she could be interesting.
RACE 9: MAIDEN CLAIMING $12,500, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS
#3 Distant Fire (5-2) has improved by leaps and bounds with every sprint start. He’s fought and just missed in his last two starts at seven furlongs or shorter. He might be a sucker horse in training, but he looks so much better than these, it could be a “now-or-never” spot for him. #7 A Thousand Idols (7-2) shipped to Maryland from Charles Town last out and won the battle, but lost the war. He dueled for the front and outfinished his sparring partner, but proved no match for the favorite who sat a great trip. A similar scenario could play out here, with Distant Fire playing the role of the rival who takes advantage of the pace. #8 Mizwarrior (10-1) tried dirt for the first time in his second career start and adds lasix.