undercard on Preakness Day offers more than $1 million in stakes purses
with the $300,00 Longines Dixie Stakes (G2) serving as the centerpiece.
Pimlico’s oldest stake, the Dixie was first run in 1870 as the Dinner
Party Stakes and was won by the horse Preakness, who is the namesake of
Old Hilltop’s signature race.
Photo: Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club
miles on the grass, the Dixie has attracted a stellar 13-horse field
and a host of big-time trainers, including Orb’s conditioner Shug
McGaughey, a two-time Dixie winner who saddles Imagining (pictured). They agree that the lineup is a
“This sounds like a very solid race to me,” said McGaughey, who won the Dixie in 1993 with Lure and in 2009 with Parading.
going to be very competitive,” added Graham Motion, another two-time
winner of the Dixie who will saddle Howe Great. Motion prevailed with
Dr. Brendler in 2003 and Better Talk Now in 2006.
you put up that kind of money, they will come,” said Hall of Fame
trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who has Optimizer, the 7-2 favorite, and Skyring (12-1) ready to fire.
are the 2012 runner-up, local campaigner Humble and Hungry,
representing Sagamore Farm, and the third place finisher Forte Dei
Marmi, who is trained by Roger Attfield.
Todd Pletcher, who won last year’s race with Hudson Steele, will send out Doubles Partner on Saturday.
entry, Imagining, the 5-1 third choice, has been galloping well over
the Pimlico surface since accompanying Orb from Churchill Downs and will
be making his second start this year. His first outing was a 3-1/2
length score against allowance company at Keeneland.
“He ran in Canada last summer and then we had to give him some time off,” said McGaughey. “He has been doing real good.”
Motion’s Howe Great (12-1) is coming off a similar victory – at 1-1/8th
miles on Keeneland’s turf against allowance runners after “being in an
awkward spot”, to finish off the board in a Grade 3 at Gulfstream Park.
pointed to Optimizer as “doing very well” after running a game second
following a poor start in the Grade I Turf Classic at Churchill Downs
two weeks ago. “He’s one of these horses who come back well and I’ve got
the hottest rider in the country (Joel Rosario).”
race has others who are sporting top credentials. Swift Warrior (4-1)
has won two straight graded tests, Doubles Partner (6-1) consistently
finishes in the money and Willcox Inn (6-1) has three in the money
finishes in five graded tests since last fall.
There are three other races on the card which are graded and which have $150,000 purses.
Maryland Sprint Handicap features 10 top sprinters, including Sage
Valley (5-2), who returns from a layoff as the probable favorite. Action
Andy (6-1) has on the board finishes in nine of his last 10 races,
while Manito (10-1) steps into the stakes ranks off a four-race winning
Summer Applause and Brushed by a Star figure to be the favorites in the
Allaire DuPont Distaff Stakes with streaking locals Moon Philly and
Daydreamin Gracie looking for the upset.
A pair of Chad Brown trained runners Pianist and Samitar headline the Gallorette.
added money races on Saturday’s 13-race card are the $100,000 Chick
Lang Stakes; the $100,000 James Murphy Stakes; the $75,000 Rollicking
Stakes and the $40,000 Deputed Testamony. First post is 10:45 a.m.