Race 1-O/C $25,000N2X, 5 furlongs turf, 3 & up
It’s rare to see a turf sprint without much speed, but that’s exactly the case in the Pimlico opener. #3 Varsity & #9 Disco Dandy look like the only front runners & I’ll lean toward Varsity, who is working well for his 2012 debut. Trainer Christophe Clement does very well with vacationing turf runners, so expect Varsity to fire fresh. #7 Night Officer improved when moved to grass earlier this year and is an ultra-consistent runner who must be included in all exotics. #12 No Easy Answer is another consistent sprinter making his grass debut that runs well off layoffs. No Easy Answer’s dam hasn’t produced a grass winner from 8 offspring, but he is out 10% first-time-turf sire, Petitionville.
Race 2-Md. Bred $7,500 Starter Hdcp., 1 1/16 miles, 3 & up
#4 Baileys Beach returns to routing after running in a sprint on May 11th. The race 8 days ago appears to have set him up perfectly for today’s race against state breds. #7 Albrecht is another that looks to sit right off the early pace, and seems to bring his “A” game. It wouldn’t be a shocker to see him in the winner’s circle. #2 Strangerinthenight is a little light on speed figures, but looks like he could set a soft early pace, which would increase his chance of delivering an optimum effort.
Race 3-$150,000 Gr. III, 1 1/16 miles turf, F/M 3 & up
#3 Zagora was compromised by a slow early pace in her last at Keeneland. There appears to be enough speed in today’s race to set up her late kick, making her very difficult to beat. #1 Camelia Rose ships in from California when she has run respectably, but has been running evenly in the stretch. A cut back in distance may be what the doctor ordered to help Camelia Rose’s late run. #2 Speak Easy Gal has run some competitive figures when able to shake loose on the lead. It appears with her inside draw, Speak Easy Gal is going to try to go as fast as she can, as far as she can and whether that is good enough remains to be seen.
Race 4-$50,000 Alw., 1 1/16 miles, 3 year olds
#4 Paynter is coming off a runner-up finish in the Gd. III Derby Trial, so he won’t pay much if he wins, but completely dominates this field. He’s only run 3 times, and his slowest race is faster than anything any of rivals have run to date. #3 Brimstone Island is the next logical contender after running second in the local Preakness prep back on May 5th. #6 Deacon Furr runs his best when going 2 turns, but is a cut below the top 2. This is his 3rd start off a layoff, an angle that produced his best effort back on 12/2/11.
Race 5-$43,000 Alw. NW1X, 5 furlongs turf, 3 & up
#13 Just Sayin came up empty in the lane last out when favored against a number of these off a 5-month break. Looks to sit off what appears to be a hotly contested early pace, but should have a little more in reserve for the stretch drive since he’s 2nd off the layoff. Post position is the main concern. #10 Issues and Answers flashed early speed before fading when making his turf debut at 1 1/16. A cut back in distance and rider switch to Ramon Dominguez can only help his chances. #6 Corundum has shown sharp improvement when sprinting on the grass and must be used in all exotic wagers.
Race 6-$100,000 Stakes, 6 furlongs, 3 year olds
#1 Scaramagna is undefeated at 6 furlongs and his only defeat was a head loss to Peter Pan Stakes runner-up, Right To Vote. Expect him to sit just off the expected quick early pace set by #3 & #8. Looks like Trainer Dallas Stewart had KY Derby fever and experimented with stretching #4 Laurie’s Rocket out to route races on a number of occasions with dismal results. When it comes to sprinting Laurie’s Rocket is very consistent and makes a good account of himself every time. This late runner should also benefit from a hot early pace. #8 Il Villano is also undefeated at 6 furlongs, and has been in the lead at the first call of all his races. That is jeopardy today with the presence of #3 Innocent Man, which could spell disaster for both in the final furlong.
Race 7-$43,000 Alw., 1 1/16 miles turf, F/M 3 & up
In a wide open race, #5 Hidden Joy appears to be the only front runner in the group & the speed figure she ran in her only route race where she was able to get a clear lead (though on dirt) is comparable to any of the main contenders. Being out of grass super-sire, Kitten’s Joy doesn’t hurt either. #7 Magical Merry is coming to this race 2nd off the layoff. His running lines already show 2 wins with this angle and his trainer, Hugh McMahon, is 30% (21 for 70) overall with his 2nd off a layoff runners. He’s a versatile runner, whose speed figures make him an obvious contender. #8 Happy Choice will be heavily favored, but looks to have seconditis (12-1-4-0) and needs a quick early pace to close into. This is a bad combination for a horse that will be an underlay returning from a 7 month layoff in a race with a lack of front runners.
Race 8-$100,000 Gd. III, 6 furlongs, 3 & up
#8 Bandbox is working lights out for trainer Rodney Jenkins, who is 27% with layoff horses. Though without a win at the distance, Bandbox is a versatile horse that usually sits a perfect trip right off the front runners, and today should be no different with his outside post draw. #7 Hamazing Destiny has been facing the country’s best sprinters for the last 2 years, but even when he drops in class from time to time, he still appears as if he’s lost his will to win. A must use in multi-race exotics, but don’t fall in love with him due to the huge class drop. #1 Immortal Eyes ran a lights out 2nd in this race last year at 20-1. Always runs well when 2nd off the layoff & he’s career best BRIS figure came over the Pimlico strip.
Race 9-$100,000 Stakes, 1 mile turf, 3 year olds
#9 Hammer’s Terror was wide throughout when running a respectable 4th in his only turf try. He’s bred for the turf by being out of BC Mile winner, Artie Schiller. A lack of early speed in here could help as he shows a couple of wins when on or near the lead. #12 Achilles’ former trainer, Neil Drysdale rarely wins with first time starters, but he did with this son of Smart Strike. Now in the Clement barn, Achilles looks to sit a good mid-pack trip, but the outside post is a major concern. #2 Skyring won a dirt allowance on the KY Derby undercard for jockey Corey Nakatani. Nakatani now moves to #9, but Skyring is bred top & bottom for turf by being out of English Channel & the Seattle Slew mare, Violet Lady, who has produced 2 grass winners.
Race 10-$100,000 Gd. III, 1 1/16 miles, F/M 3 & up
#5 Awesomemundo exploded when moved to the dirt off synthetics tracks. She has been working great for Baffert, and with an expected hot early pace look for her to roll by them late. #4 Daring Reality will also be charging late and has been working well for her return to the races of a November layoff. #3 Check Point is a carbon copy of Daring Reality, a one-run closer that looks to get the optimum pace set up. She comes into this where she ran a respectable 3rd in a listed stakes on the grass at Aqueduct. The pace in that race was dawdling and on paper, looks like a great prep for today.
Race 11-$300,000 Gd. II, 1 1/8 miles turf, 3 & up
#4 Straight Story’s PPs are littered with layoff lines, but he usually runs well after a freshening. In a race with a lack of early speed, let’s try to get Straight Story to take them wire to wire. #10 Forti Dei Marmi’s last race was very impressive sat behind a ultra-slow pace going 1 mile, he gained 6 lengths in a final ¼ mile of 21 4/5 to get the victory. He’s worked every 7 days leading up to the race & I expect another good effort. #7 Smart Bid tends to hang in the stretch, but usually sits a good trip and is in the mix at the wire, today should be no different with the absence of early speed horses.
Race 12-$1,000,000 Gd. I, 1 3/16 miles, 3 year olds
Can I’ll Have Another or Bodemeister win the Preakness? Sure, but even though Bodemeister set a torrid pace, the track favored speed KY Derby day. And though I’ll Have Another broke from post 19, he never had a straw in his path as he won the roses. #6 Creative Cause has already beat Bodemeister on the square and lost to I’ll Have Another by a whisker in the Santa Anita Derby. In the KY Derby Creative Cause was wide throughout, had a horse back up into him on the far turn & still only lost by 3 lengths. Now Creative Cause is going to be 3 to 4 times the price of the top 2, even though he’s shown capable of running with them when all things are even. #7 Bodemeister is very talented and should set a slower pace today, but I’m worried about the camp’s lack of conviction of running in this race immediately after the Derby. A digression from Bodemeister would come as no surprise, as he may have given too much in the Derby. As stated earlier, #9 I’ll Have Another had everything his own way in the KY Derby and could win again today, but if others don’t encounter trouble I have to go with them at larger odds.
Race 13-$41,000 Md Sp Wt, 1 1/16 miles turf, 3 & up
#12 Spinnaker Bay looks to finally make his turf debut after being rained off in his 2 previous lifetime starts. A return to the races in 9 days is a good sign he is prime to deliver a top effort today. #3 Unex Dali ran a great 2nd on the KY Derby undercard, but has seconditis (10-0-3-1) and will be overbet. #6 Unbroken is out of a dam that produced 3 turf winners. He puts blinkers on in his turf debut for a trainer that is 30% off the layoff & 22% with first time routers.
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