PIMLICO PICKS AND PONDERINGS: SEPTEMBER 22, 2023
In which we pick the races from Pimlico each day…
Post time: 12:25 p.m.
Carryovers: Rainbow Jackpot Pick 6 —$5,453 Jackpot Super High 5 — $4,984 Late Pick 5– $0
Check out our other handicapping here!
RACE 1: CLAIMING $25,000 (N/W2L), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 6 FURLONGS
Wrapping up the final week of the Pimlico season with a 10-race card. This race depends on if #7 Guardian Angel (5-2) can duplicate her last race, which produced her best brisnet figure in months. In her first start outside of her home state of Florida, she rated off the pace and dueled for a while ending up second with a strong 86. While that’s a significant jump from her prior few races, she had run in the 80s earlier this year, so it’s not a total outlier. If anything, it signifies that she’s starting to round back into her best form, and that would make her tough to beat. #5 Dialherup (7-2) made her first start against winners last out, and held second while outfinishing the other two horses who were near the pace. She looks like one of the commanding speeds in here. #1 Spencerian (6-1) stopped badly last out while wide at Timonium, but had closed well against similar in her prior two starts. Hugh McMahon has had a strong Pimlico meet, with a 4-for-6 record going into today.
RACE 2: CLAIMING $16,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 1/16 MILES (GRASS)
#8 On the Engine (5-2) had trouble settling in his last start, but once he did, he fought hard in the stretch and lost to a Jamie Ness-trained favorite who got a cozy front-end trip. These look like they’ll be easier to rally past. #14 Super E (2-1) has closed for second twice in his last four starts. He declined a bit to a 73 last out, but had run at least a 79 in his prior four races, a mark that the rest of these don’t often achieve. #5 Pursuing Pace (5-1) was elevated to victory last out when he was steadied in the midst of a potentially winning rally. He has a well-fitting name, as he likes to drift well off the pace and gobble up ground late. He looks like he’s getting good at the right time.
- Circle P rallies to win Maryland JuvenileCircle P benefited from a spirited speed duel and a patient Ricardo Chiappe ride to win the Maryland Juvenile Stakes Saturday at Laurel.
RACE 3: MAIDEN CLAIMING $20,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 6 FURLONGS
#5 Dowsing Rod (6-1) was defeated by some of these last out at Timonium, but ran in the 70s twice earlier this year at Laurel Park. He returns to the bigger track here and should close well late against this soft field. #4 Moonset (12-1) improved sharply for third second off a brief layoff last out at Timonium. He couldn’t get to the lead last out and was forced to close, but is usually up and on the early tempo. #9 Austin From Boston (2-1) has improved drastically in his last two starts and takes a drop from a (slightly subpar) $45,000 maiden claiming contest.
RACE 4: MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/8 MILES (GRASS)
#7 I’m Glad (15-1) stretched back out to two turns at Colonial Downs last out and handled it with aplomb, rallying for third behind the two heavy favorites. She turned in a good workout last Tuesday at Fair Hill and should be well-primed by Keri Brion for this spot. #12 Jersey Joyce (8-1) ran in the mid-70s in each of her first two starts at Monmouth Park. The distance is the only question, as she’s never been beyond five furlongs, but if she can handle it, she’s live. The best race of #2 Red Hot and Blue (5-2) wins this, but se’s had a hard time staying on the track. This is her first race since March and her third in the past year. Nonetheless, she has good late speed and has been working well for Jimmy Toner.
RACE 5: CLAIMING $5,000 (CONDITIONED), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
#2 Tenax (5-2) was outclassed in his last start and showed little, but ran a 76, the best last-out figure in the race by seven points. In fact, he’s run at least a 76 in each of his last three dirt starts. Anything close to his best race wins this without trouble. #1 Spitball (2-1) goes third off the layoff for McMahon and drops from first-level company at Colonial. He ran figures comparable to those of Tenax last year, bit has not shown much late punch in either of his two starts this year. We’ll see if he can put it all together today. #7 Crownedcountcristo (6-1) was eased last out at Timonium, but he was in ascending form prior to that and turned in a good workout since that race, going four furlongs in 49 1/5 seconds last Friday.
RACE 6: STARTER OPTIONAL CLAIMING $12,500, 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 1 MILE (GRASS)
#4 Sir Terre (5-2) closed well off modest fractions to get third two Fridays ago, and ran down #10 Gunslinger (2-1) to win against slightly tougher three races back. He’s been consistently solid all year and should be heard from late. Gunslinger is almost certain to get the early lead, but has gotten caught late in each of his last three starts. While there’s not much other speed in here, that was the case in his last few starts, and he still couldn’t seal the deal. At least he looks like a good horse to key underneath in an exacta. #12 Artemus Bridge (9-2) beat these types going away at Colonial two starts ago, in his first start off a four-month layoff. He looks for a rebound off a pace-compromised performance at Delaware Park last out.
- Martina Rojas: “Nothing like loving your job”Preternaturally driven apprentice rider Martina Rojas has opened some eyes of late with solid meets at Presque Isle, Timonium, Pimlico and now Laurel.
RACE 7: MAIDEN CLAIMING $45,000, 2-YEAR-OLDS, FILLIES, 6 FURLONGS
Our cup runneth over with 2-year-olds here: it’s a full field of 12 in the main body, plus four on the also-eligible list. 14 of them, including all 12 main-body runners, are Maryland-breds. #7 Feelin So Lucky (6-1) got going late on debut last out, finishing second by a head in spite of the winner lugging out a few paths in the final yards. #5 Momma’s Lino (8-1) was well-bet in her first start, but was bumped around at the break and showed little. She’s eligible for improvement at a decent price. #1 Go Sherry Go (7-2) lasted a long ay on the pace last out and held third, well-clear of the other firster in the race. Look for this one to once again show speed from the inside.
RACE 8: ALLOWANCE (N/W1X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, FILLIES AND MARES, 1 1/16 MILES (GRASS)
#14 Youens (4-1) got third, beaten just a neck, at Delaware last out despite being forced to alter course when a rival came in on her. She’s improved with every recent start and will be tough to hold off if she gets clear sailing. #15 Golden Heart (10-1) also competed at Delaware most recently, where she led all the way despite stiff, consistent pressure. She’s won three of her last four starts and will try to take the next step up the class ladder here. #1 Recinto Rompere (3-1) broke her maiden impressively at Monmouth last July, but didn’t move forward in her next two starts and went to the sidelines last November. She returns here for Arnaud Delacour and gets lasix for the first time. It’s a fairly easy field, especially if the aforementioned two don’t draw in, and she has the talent to make an impact.
RACE 9: ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING (N/W2X), 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP, 6 FURLONGS
At long last, #5 Post Time (9-5) is set for his 3-year-old debut. He looked like a superstar last year, winning three straight races with dazzling come-from-behind moves en route to the title of champion Maryland-bred 2-year-old. Unfortunately, his potential Derby trail hopes were dashed in mid-January, and he returned to the worktab in early July. It’s never easy coming back from such a long break, as he hasn’t raced since early December, but he’s so much more talented than these, he should wallop them if he’s anywhere near his best self. #6 Mose Perfect (8-1) is another promising Maryland-bred coming off a long layoff. He rattled off three straight wins over the fall and winter at Laurel, running in the 90s twice. However, he was sidelined after a dull effort in early February and now returns to the track. He has tons of upside and looks like the best alternative if you want to try and beat the favorite. #8 Nolo Contesto (5-1) converted a catbird-seat trip to victory at Monmouth in his most recent dirt start, and should work out another nice setup here.
RACE 10: MAIDEN CLAIMING $20,000, 3, 4, AND 5-YEAR-OLDS, 5 FURLONGS (GRASS)
If the weather forecast holds up, this’ll be the last grass race at Pimlico until next year. #10 Reap What You Sow (7-2) improved sharply to a career-best 71 in his second start off a year-plus layoff last out. He’s lightly-raced, having started just four times, and has room to improve even further. #1 Master Oogway (9-5) has run no worse than a 64 in his six career grass starts; he now cuts back from a mile an adds blinkers. #3 Thunderhouse (3-1) has taken steps forward in his last few grass races, most recently closing for third at 22-1. That was the first time he had shown any sort of late punch; we’ll see if he can build on that performance.
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