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Pimlico Day 3: Ben’s Cat seeks 5th consecutive Mr. Diz

Ben's Cat wins 2013 Jim McKay Turf Sprint.
Photo: Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club

The first two of the 35 racing days at the Pimlico Spring Meet are in the books and one thing is for sure, this isn’t your fathers Pimlico.

Gone is the heavy speed bias (thanks to the Director of Track Maintenance) as through the first 18 races of the meet, only 4 winners have reached the Winners Circle in gate-to-wire fashion. Post Time favorites have won 7 of those 18 races, but the majority of those other 12 races have seen $2 WIN pay-offs in the teens, twenties and thirties.

Even though Mother Nature forced five races off the turf, the forecast is encouraging for Saturday so that at least the two stakes races scheduled for the turf, the Mr. Diz and Dahlia Stakes, will indeed be run on the Pimlico lawn. We hope!

In addition to the $75,000 Mr. Diz on 3-year-olds & up and $100,000 Dahlia Stakes for fillies & mares, Pimlico’s Saturday 10-race card will feature the $75,000 Twixt Stakes for 3-year-old Maryland-bred fillies.

Ben’s Cat is looking for his fifth consecutive victory in the Mister Diz. The King T. Leatherbury homebred is the overwhelming 1-5 morning line favorite against eight challengers.

The gelding has earned more than $500,000 in earnings for three consecutive years and ranks eighth on the all-time Maryland-bred list with $1,862,640. He is 24-of-37 lifetime with three Grade 3 scores.

Jockey Julian Pimentel will be aboard him for the 26th time. The duo has combined to win 16 times. “I worked him last Saturday and he doing well,” Pimentel said. “He is very popular around here and there is just something about him. He is a really unbelievable horse and has matured so much throughout the years. He can be close to the pace or if they are going too fast up front sit back and make that one move when he sees the horses in front of him and wants to go get them.

Caught longtime Maryland trainer Ann Merryman during morning workouts for a #PimlicoSelfie. Ann sends out Another Taste in today's 3rd race.

Recapping posted selections from Friday, April 4th at Pimlico, had just 3 winners from 9 races (2 Top Selections; payoffs in BOLD) having $2 WIN pay-offs of $4.00 (3rd race), $19.00 (8th) and $5.80 (9th).

The BEST BET of the Day (12: 2-4-4) Warrioroftheroses (2nd race: 3-1 M/L; 3-1 PT) stalked the early pace three wide, raced between rivals past the three eighths pole, angled four wide nearing the quarter pole, lugged in briefly in mid-stretch, straightened away and steadily gained just missing second by a nose, returning $2.80 to SHOW.

The LONGSHOT PICK (13: 4-5-0) Miss Sparks (6th race: 6-1 M/L; 4-1 PT) fractious in the gate, came away alertly, vied three wide between rivals for nearly a half mile and gave way in mid-stretch to finish 5th.

FYI – the BEST BET of the Day selection will never be a M/L favorite and the LONGSHOT PICK will simply be the runner having the highest M/L odds among my top picks for an entire card.

PLEASE NOTE: Statistics provided for the BEST BET and LONGSHOT PICK in parentheses represent the Number of Picks: Wins-Places-Shows. For example, the BEST BET (10: 1-2-3) was picked 10 times resulting in 1 winner, 2 places and 3 shows. In the past, I would reset these numbers at the start of each meet. For 2014, I reset these numbers on Jan. 1st in order to chart results on a yearly basis.

Selections for Saturday, Apr. 5th at Old Hilltop Top are posted below. Main track is FAST. The two stakes races (7th & 9th) are ON TURF, but the 3rd and 5th races are OFF the TURF.

Soup of the Day at Pimlico: Chicken Noodle

1st race – $5,000 Claiming N1Y for 3 y.o. and up – 1 1/16 miles
#4 – Brand New Moves (8-1)
#6 – Harmonizer (9-5)
#5 – Sun Dance Moon (3-1)

2nd race – $6,250 Claiming for F&M 3 y.o. and up – 6 furlongs
#3 – Grace is a Beauty (9-5)
#6 – Willow Creek (3-1)
#5 – Amelia Rose (8-1)

3rd race – $25,000 Maiden Claiming for F&M 3 y.o. and up – 5 furlongs OFF TURF
note: M/L were based ON TURF
#2 – Broadway by Storm (4-1)
#7 – Saturday Blues (9-2)
#3 – Stud Magnet (6-1)

4th race – $7,500 Claiming N2L for F&M 3 y.o. and up – 6 furlongs
#7 – Midian (3-1)  *** BEST BET ***
#1 – Slewdious (15-1)
#6 – Will n’ Pat (2-1)

10 cent Jackpot Pick-5… Carryover: $7,241.23
The Play: 2,4,10,12 / 1,4,5,6 / 3 / 2,4 / 3,7,10,11 ($12.80)

5th race – $25,000 Maiden Claiming for 3 y.o. and up – 1 1/16 miles OFF TURF
note: M/L were based ON TURF
#12 – Celtic King (12-1)  $$$ LONGSHOT PLAY $$$
#10 – Banjammer (2-1)
#2 – Extra Money (9-2)

6th race – $40,000 Maidens for 3 y.o. fillies – 1 1/16 miles
#1 – All Dun (7-2)
#5 – Miss Emelina (3-1)
#4 – Count My Blessings (12-1)

7th race – $75,000 Mr. Diz Stakes for 3 y.o. and up – 5 furlongs ON TURF
#3 – Ben’s Cat (1-5)
#1 – A P Elvis (15-1)
#7 – Relentless Move (15-1)

8th race – $75,000 Twixt Stakes for MD-Bred 3 y.o. fillies – 1 1/16 miles
#4 – Steady N Love (1-1)
#2 – Inspired Say Eye (4-1)
#1 – Charlie Renee (8-5)

9th race – $100,000 Dahlia Stakes for F&M 3 y.o. and up – 1 mile ON TURF
#3 – Embarr (7-2)
#11 – Perique (15-1)
#7 – Villette (6-1)

9th race – $8,000 Maiden Claiming for 3 y.o. up – 1 1/16 miles
#2 – Lincoln Flyer (7-5)
#4 – Wildly Leaks (8-1)
#7 – Great Matchup (20-1)

Food for Thought: Baseball Hall of Famers are typically successful in only 3 of 10 plate appearances. Think about it… Good Luck!


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you can do this Big Ben and go Embarr

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                Meet Gary Quill

  I am the most passionate person on the planet when it comes to thoroughbred horse racing! One sunny summer day in 1964 at Timonium Race Track is where my Dad and mentor introduced me to “The Sport of Kings”. Since that day, I have had the pleasure to visit over 40 different tracks across North America. Though an IT professional by trade, I’ve had a part-time gig with the Maryland Jockey Club since 1988.

here are thousands of rail-birds who claim to be great handicappers. Well, I don’t claim to be the best… just the most passionate and one that won’t tout “chalk”. Like a savvy stock broker, I look for value and often find it. Unlike the talking heads on horse racing television networks and the dozens of websites featuring handicapper’s opinions, I’m ACCOUNTABLE. That is, good or bad, you’ll always know how my previously posted picks performed along with a running record of my BEST BET and LONGSHOT Play of the Day selections for Maryland tracks (Laurel and Pimlico) at TheRacingBiz, see "The GQ Approach".

   In addition to focusing on the Maryland thoroughbred racing circuit, each year I follow the Derby Trail and post “GQ’s Derby Double Dozen” in early February. 

   My personal mission is to rejuvenate interest in thoroughbred horse racing. Being able to share my energy, thoughts and opinions on this sport via HRN will certainly help the cause.


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