PIMLICO PICKS AND PONDERINGS: SEPTEMBER 16, 2023
In which we pick the races from Pimlico each day…
Post time: 12:25 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 —$944 Super High 5 — $3,129 Late Pick 5 — $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: CLAIMING $16,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES
You couldn’t ask for more perfect weather for today’s 11-race card, and the program’s pretty nice, too. #5 Votethemallout (4-1) closed well in his 2023 debut last out at Colonial Downs, and ran a brisnet figure of 77 in each of his last two dirt starts. While he’s never run two turns on dirt, his lone win came at a mile on grass, so there’s little doubt he can handle this distance. #3 Impetud (2-1) goes first off the claim by Claudio Gonzalez, who recently wrapped up another title-winning season at Monmouth Park. He’s had some time off since back-to-back dull races against better, but his best performance seriously contends here, plus he has early speed in a race without much of it. #2 Admit Nothing (9-2) struggled at Timonium first off the layoff last out, but is eligible for a rebound off a slight drop in class. He should do his best running late.
RACE 2: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 2-YEAR-OLDS, 5 FURLONGS (GRASS)
#3 Orange Juice (2-1) went off as the slight favorite on debut at Delaware Park last out, and turned in a more than respectable effort. He chased a loose leader, Laddie Dance, who had experience and got away with slow fractions for a five-furlong race. Orange Juice still made up good ground late and ended up beaten a neck. He’s turned in a bullet workout since then and should improve second time out for Mike Stidham. #1 Beltane (6-1) improved sharply second time out, rating off the pace and holding second to improve to a 75, matching Orange Juice’s last-out figure. This one’s full brother, Tidewater, won here on grass last Friday. #4 K’s Storm Ready (9-2) has worked well getting ready for his debut for Michael Matz, and is a half-brother to two graded stakes winners, including Hat Puntano, a multiple grade 1 winner in Argentina.
- Notes from Pennsylvania Derby daySome news, notes, and observations from a rainy, messy but exciting day at Parx Racing, where the Pennsylvania Derby was run Saturday.
RACE 3: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W1X), 2-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 6 FURLONGS
#4 Beachfront Breeze (7-2) ran a game race on the lead in the Keswick Stakes last out, ultimately losing by a half-length in a three-horse photo finish. She ran an 85 that day, making her one of two horses in the race to have run an 80 at any point in their careers. #3 Shelilahs Warcloud (9-2) also made her last start at Colonial, rating in mid-pack and getting by the embattled leaders to break her maiden on debut. She’ll try to convert another stalking trip here and could do it if the pace is fast enough. #2 Irish Maxima (3-1) showed abundant early speed in her debut at Parx. She shook off a rival who drew alongside her in the stretch and held on, but did not take the turn that well and was a bit green in the last sixteenth. She has plenty of natural ability, but must mature to beat these types.
RACE 4: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 5 FURLONGS (GRASS)
In a race that looks chaotic on paper, it makes sense to try and find a plausible longshot. #1 Bitty Boss (30-1) ran a much-improved race second off a nine-month layoff last out, closing strongly to lose by three lengths with a solid 78. That type of race puts her in the mix with the other contenders. She also has the best late pace figures in the field. #9 Winked (3-1) finished a hard-luck third in her most recent grass start here in early June, finishing behind a pair of next-out winners, including Stormy Blue Stakes victress Bosserati. She returned to the races with a game second at Timonium last out and should enjoy the return to her preferred surface. #3 Gift of Gab (10-1) was a respectable second behind loose leader Princess Runaway at Penn National last out. That rival came back to win her next race at this condition, then was fourth in the Mrs. Penny Stakes. This one could be the main speed of this field.
RACE 5: SHINE AGAIN STAKES, 3–YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
The first of six stakes races on the card is named for the top Maryland-bred sprinter of the early 2000s. #9 Intepid Daydream (3-1) is one of four Maryland-breds in the field, and looks the most likely to carry the Old Line flag to the winner’s circle. She’s had two tough defeats in her last two races, battling in the stretch each time and falling just short. She should rate just off the early leaders, and if nothing else, hang in gamely late. #4 Sweet Gracie (8-1) is one of three in here who has run at least an 86 in each of her last three dirt starts. She was flat in her last two starts, but won on this track first off the layoff in early June. #7 Deco Strong (12-1) closed well for third in the Timonium Distaff last out, and has a penchant for shaking up the exotics at good prices.
RACE 6: BEN’S CAT STAKES, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, MD-BRED/SIRED, 5 FURLONGS (GRASS)
One of the most recent inductees to the Maryland Thoroughbred Hall of Fame is honored with this race. The only non-Maryland-bred in the field, #7 Witty (9-5), has finished second in his last three starts against stakes company, never running lower than a 90. Anything close to his best race beats these without trouble. #3 Sky’s Not Falling (5-2) has competed in route races for most of the year, but did win the Maryland Million Turf Sprint last year, and has three career victories going five panels. He was flat in the Find Stakes last out, but any of his previous three figures would at least make Witty sweat. Fellow Mike Trombetta trainee #8 Matta (6-1) showed speed and faded first off the layoff at Colonial last out, but ran in the 90s regularly last year. We’ll see if he still has it in the second start of his 7-year-old campaign.
- Catching up with… Jessica PaquetteWe caught up with Parx Racing track announcer Jessica Paquette on the eve of her becoming the first woman to call a US Grade 1 race.
RACE 7: LITE THE FUSE STAKES, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
The two-time DeFrancis Dash winner is honored here. #8 Wondrwherecraigis (7-5) was a determined second in this year’s renewal of the Dash, leading most of the way before getting caught late by Lightening Larry. This one’s run in the 90s threes times in his last four starts and has potent early speed from the outside. His biggest rival is #3 Stage Left (5-2), who enters here off a determined win in the Rumson Stakes at Monmouth where he battled on the pace and pulled clear late. He doesn’t have to go the front, but if he finds himself in an early duel, we know he can hang on. #7 Scaramouche (9-2) won the Gallant Bob Stakes last year with a sweeping late rally, but has been on the sidelines since February. Guadalupe Preciado has solid numbers first off the layoff; this one has the back-class to win it.
RACE 8: ALL ALONG STAKES, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/8 MILES (GRASS)
This field pays tribute to the 1983 Horse of the Year, who won the Washington D.C. International in her award-winning season. #1 Full Count Felicia (7-2) kicked away nicely to win her first start of the year last out at Colonial. While her figure of 85 is a few points below the standard needed to win a race like this, she ran in the upper-80s and 90s with regularity last year. The low last-out figure can be forgiven, considering it was her first start in so long. She should move forward second of the break. #2 Willakia (4-1) also comes in off an impressive Colonial win, having gone gate-to-wire there last out. She got a pretty easy setup that day, but there isn’t a lot of early speed in this contest, so it’s possible she gets it again. #12 Myriskyaffair (9-2) has rallied well off slow paces against tough rivals in New York in her last few, and will likely try to drop back early to save as much ground as possible.
RACE 9: WEATHER VANE STAKES, 3-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 6 FURLONGS
The stakes action continues with a race named for the top Maryland-bred sprinter of the mid-1990s. She won 14 stakes races between 1997 and 1998. #4 Ms. Bucchero (5-1) was pressed on the pace and drew off to an impressive victory last out at Penn National. It was the third time she’s run in the 90s in her last four starts; her only dull recent race came when she was outclassed in the Dashing Beauty Stakes. This is an easier field, and she looks like the commanding early speed. #3 Talk to the Judge (12-1) called on all her heart last out to fend off Liquidator and win the Miss Disco Stakes. She won’t be able to outrun Ms. Bucchero here unless that one completely misses the break, but she ran rate and hold on for a share. #6 Fancy Joke (6-1) has shown speed and flattened out in her last two starts, but ran some races in the mid-80s earlier this year.
RACE 10: BALTIMORE-WASHINGTON TURF CUP, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE (GRASS)
Today’s featured event is the spiritual successor to the Washington D.C. International. #9 King Vega (5-1) ran a huge race first off the layoff at Colonial last out, going gate-to-wire and finishing in a dead-heat with late-running Commandeer. He ran a career-best 97 that day, the best last-out figure in the race by four points, and he should only get better second off the bench. #7 Smokin’ T (2-1) showed heart in his last two starts against stakes company, most recently in the Minit Millions Stakes at Kentucky Downs, where he lost by a half-length after pressing the pace. #4 Wolfie’s Dynaghost (2-1), who is also entered in the Presque Isle Mile on Monday, also last ran at Kentucky, where he won a stakes-quality allowance in gate-to-wire fashion. He’ll try to steal away on the lead here.
RACE 11: MAIDEN CLAIMING $20,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 MILE (GRASS)
#2 Lem Me Drink (3-1) broke through the gate prior to her last start, and didn’t run nearly her best. Take that race out, and her figures squash these. #4 Opinionated (6-1) was the only first-time starter in the field last out, but chased the early leaders, who ran 1-2 the entire way around, and finished a respectable third with a solid 64. If she gets a pace to run into, she should make an impact late. #14 Every Time (8-1) ran an ambitious race on the lead last out at Colonial and faded, but when she’s allowed to settle, her figures have been much better. Her ideal trip is one where she rates near the leader in the two-path.