Todd Pletcher has never had one of his horses win the storied $300,000
Pimlico Special (G3), but that could change come Friday.
Photo: Coglianese Photos
will send two strong contenders, Revolutionary and Golden Lad, to post
in the Special that will see nine horses start the 12th race of the day.
horses come in off strong performances in the Oaklawn Handicap and
Pletcher said he expects Revolutionary, who finished third in the 2013
Kentucky Derby (G1), to run “as well as he is capable of racing.” The
son of War Pass is the 5-2 morning line favorite set by Pimlico
handicapper Keith Feustle.
Lad, meanwhile, has won four of his last five starts. The winning
string was broken at Oaklawn, when his jockey, Gary Stevens, said the
horse did not handle the track surface well. In the Special, Golden Lad,
breaking from the No. 4 hole, returns to jockey Jose Lezcano, who rode
him to three of his previous four wins.
had our eye on the Pimlico Special since the Oaklawn Handicap,”
Pletcher said. “It’s based on how they are both doing and training, the
timing and the distance.”
if he’s looking for something out of the Special, aside from the joy of
one of them winning, in terms of each horse’s development, Pletcher
“The focus is purely on the Pimlico Special,” he said. “It’s prestigious in its own rite. We’d be very happy to win it.”
would the trainers of the other seven horses going to post in a race
whose history goes back to the storied match between Seabiscuit and War
Eric Guillot, for instance, said his horse, Moreno, is among the top
five handicap horses in the country. He also said if the other horses
want to beat his, “they’ll have to run better numbers” than they have
he added, “all the horses in this race bother me. They’ve all got a
chance, even though I think I have one of the best here. It’s a horse
race – anything can happen.”
was reminded of that in April when he had to totally change his plans
for Moreno. The horse was scheduled for the Oaklawn Handicap but came
down with a fever. Guillot had to scratch those plans and his plans for
the Met Mile. He shipped his stable to Saratoga. Then he decided to
bring graded stakes winner Moreno, who has finished among the top three
in five of his last six races – all of them G1 and G2 stakes - to
distance suits him. The speed suits him and his running style,” Guillot
said. “He’s a front runner. I think my horse has to be the favorite.”
Baffert sends out Cat Burglar with jockey Rosie Napravnik up. The son
of Unbridled’s Song comes in off two wins and three in his last five
last two wins have been pretty impressive,” Baffert said of the horse’s
past two starts at Santa Anita. “So I’m going to give him a shot at
added he did not consider Cat Burglar for any races at Churchill Downs
earlier this month, choosing instead to focus on the Special.
owner [Michael L. Petersen] is from the area – he lives in Maryland,”
Baffert said. “So I thought we’d bring him over there and give him a
race and see how he handles it.”
Pimlico Special field, from the rail out: Valid (Marcus Vitali, Orlando
Bocachica, 10-1), Cat Burglar (Bob Baffert, Rosie Napravnik, 4-1),
Moreno (Eric Guillot, Joel Rosario, 7-2), Golden Lad (Todd Pletcher,
Jose Lezcano, 6-1), Carve (Brad Cox, Jesus Castanon, 5-1), Revolutionary
(Todd Pletcher, Mike Smith, 5-2), Major King (Lori Testerman, Xavier
Perez, 50-1), Prayer For Relief (Dale Romans, John Velazquez, 12-1), and
Bourbon Courage (Kellyn Gorder, Leandro Goncalves, 15-1).
The Special is one of eight stakes races on the Friday card that is highlighted by the 90th running of the $500,000 Black Eyed Susan (G2).