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Mick likes Signalman in the Preakness. Signalman?  (AP Photo/Will Newton)
Mick likes Signalman in the Preakness. Signalman?  (AP Photo/Will Newton)|Associated Press
Thoroughbreds

The Preakness: McMudder picks all the big races at Pimlico plus races at Belmont, Monmouth, Parx and Delaware Park

Pimlico Race 2 goes of at 11:04 am EDT so hurry.

Mick McMudder

Mick McMudder

Seems weird for the Preakness to arrive without any horse searching for a Triple Crown. Ultimately that lack of a dominant horse should yield a much more competitive race than we would have otherwise. It certainly has led to a larger field. The 13 starters all have flaws, some more obvious than others. The rest of the card is solid with some live long shots that will key races in each of the Pick 4s as well as the all stakes Pick 5 and the Rainbow 6. Mick will break down each of those plays as part of his Pimlico coverage. Here’s hoping everyone has a big bank roll . . . there is a lot to play.

Picks for May 18, 2019:

Gorgeous. ‘Nuf said.

Belmont Race 11
5-Seek and Destroy
is the pick here for one simple reason. Chad Brown has too many good turf fillies and proved Mick wrong yesterday by sending one off a long break to win. Same recipe here. Not only does Kendrick Carmouche win half the time he rides for Brown, the horses pay bombs. Hoping for a bomb here. 2-Feel Glorious is a really interesting story. She started out a much, much lower level. Although Brighton is a beautiful track set into the side of a hill, a Class 5 maiden race there is akin to a maiden $10K on a Thursday night at Penn National -- not where you search for Graded Stakes horses. She showed some potential on her trip to Germany and then made the winter transition to North America, an excellent Christophe Clement move. Since arriving all she has done is win. 3-Stillwater Cove comes in with the top speed figures but they were all at 5 ½ f so the speed will be there but will the fade?
$10 W/P/S 5-Seek and Destroy
$2 Exacta Box 2,3,5
$1 Trifecta Box 2,3,5

Monmouth Race 10 Politely Stakes
4-Mrs. Ramona G
and 8-Mominou stand above this field but who to like more? It will be all about the turf. If speed is holding, then 8-Mominou is the pick. If the closers are getting there, then 4-Mrs Ramona G goes on top. Either box the exacta or wait to see how the turf is playing.
$2 Exacta box 4,8

Delaware Race 6 Not a stakes race…not even close.
6 maidens, three with starts, three without. Going with the firster, 6-Proud Ruler, due to the hot jockey and the trainer angle. Jockey Jeremy Rose is winning at 83% at Delaware this season and he is doing it with a ton of confidence. 14 years ago that put him in the winner’s circle at the Preakness on Afleet Alex. Today, the stakes are less. Trainer Tim Ritchey focuses on Delaware Park and this one looks placed with a purpose.
$50 W 6-Proud Ruler

Parx Race 8 Not a stakes race but pretty close if you squint.
3-Free Kitty
proves that trainer Rudy Rodriguez is excellent at reading condition books and placing his horses well. In this case, really, really well. This mare beat an open first level allowance group last out in NY and now she gets on the truck to come to Parx to run against a group that is well below that level due to the way the race conditions are written. This should be a walk over. This one could see stakes company soon if she continues on like this.
$50 W 3-Free Kitty

Pimlico Race 2
Got lots of races to get through so it’s nice to start the Pick 5 with a straight-forward single. 10-Minister’s Strike gets the hottest jockey and comes from the hottest barn at Pimlico. Look for McCarthy/Ness to continue on here with a horse that showed a ton in getting up for the win last time. Class check but he should be up for it.
$10 W/P/S 10-Minister’s Strike

Pimlico Race 3 Sir Barton Stakes
This race gets a short field because the Preakness has such a big field. It would be reversed if a dominant Derby winner was running in the feature. 3-King for a Day should live up to his name and be the king for at least a race. 2 races and 2 singles for the Pick 5. Underneath 1-Trifor Gold ran second to the well-considered Alwaysmining last out and 2-Pretty Good Year combines jockey Daniel Centeno and trainer Kelly Rubley, the connections for Alwaysmining.
$10 W 3-King for a Day
$1 Trifecta box 1,2,3

Pimlico Race 4
Mick knew it was going too well. Hopefully alive to the 3rd leg and now we get a…..turf sprint with 14 horses. The rich man would hit the all button and move on but we are not rich men so we need to find some way to reduce the possibles. The long list of possibles: 1-Yang Yue, 3-Margie is Livid, 5-Misty on Pointe, 9-Hip Hop, 12-Salt Pond, and 14-Kitty’s Right. Anyone else and Mick will just live with the consequences. So if you can go 6 deep here, do so. If not, 9,12 and 14 would be the most logical top contenders.

Pimlico Race 5 James W. Murphy Stakes
First off, it’s cool that Maryland recognizes trainers with races. And the late Jimmy Murphy deserved one a long time ago. And a mile on the turf for 3 year old boys seems right, too, although his best Preakness weekend probably involved fillies but Mick will let you determine that for yourself. This race is wide open as evidenced by the Morning Line. How about home field advantage here? No one has made an outside post work long on the turf but this race may be the time. 10-Gearhead was flying late last out and a repeat performance puts him in the mix at a huge number. Need to use both Todd Pletcher horses, 2-Current and 8-Empire of War as well as 3-Eons, a maiden winner last out but a regally bred one. The fly in the ointment? If 9-Tybalt takes to the turf as his pedigree says he should, he becomes the ultimate wild card. Why did it takes these connections so long to get a son of Kitten’s Joy out of a Tale of the Cat mare on the turf? Somebody may need to ask them in the winner’s circle. For the Pick 5, this becomes a value question. Go with all 5 if you can, otherwise 2,8,10.
$10 W/P/S 10-Gearhead

Pimlico Race 6 Maryland Sprint Stakes
This kicks off the middle Pick 4…see below the last race for the picks. Can’t they name this race after a trainer? How about Scott Lake? He does really well with sprinters and has more than 6000 wins. Just saying. 6-Wentz is the obvious choice. Why? His trainer has a) has never lost a race, and b) has a pretty famous name. And everybody knows him as Tyler so Mick’s readers should too. Tyler Servis, son of a Preakness winning trainer and nephew of a trainer whose horse crossed the line first in the Derby. If it’s genetic, he should be in good shape for this career. So far, he has run two horses, both in sprints, and both have won. This one ran a cracker last out to get up by a nose in a super tough allowance at Keeneland. This field looks very similar and will take a similar effort to win. 4-Lewisfield is another local horse (trained at Charles Town by WV stalwart Jeff Runco) that seems to be a step behind when he gets away from restricted races but he is fast. 7-Proforma should get the perfect stalking trip breaking form the outside in this small field. He came from the clouds to just miss last out on turf and that effort should have him ready. He is trained at Fair Hill by Michael Stidham. If things fall just right, Fair Hill will get some media coverage after today’s races.
$10 W/P/S 6-Wentz
$2 Exacta box 4,6,7
$1 Trifecta box 4,6,7

Early Pick 5 (races 2-6) The discount version: 10/3/9,12,14/2,8,10/4,6,7

Pimlico Race 7 Searching Stakes
5-Ickymasho
appears bred for the 12f distance and the turf. She won at this distance last out in a Grade 3. Most importantly, she appears to be a new horse since the addition of Lasix. Being able to breathe without having blood fill your lungs is a positive for a lot of horses. 6-Vevina won at this distance last out on the turf at Keeneland but she got a short field. The rest of the field seems to be slower or not as classy. Therefore, use the two above or hit the all key.
$10 W/P/S 5-Ickymasho
$2 Exacta box 5,6

Pimlico Race 8
First race in the Rainbow 6 and 3rd in the Pick 4 means this race could knock out two multirace plays. Thankfully, it looks like a two horse race between 1-Articulator and 8-I’m an Ocala Dude but leave 9-Overdeliver out at your own peril. He almost went down in the Wood last out and unites trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez who have won a few races together. And those races, all totaled might be worth $50M? Yes, they know how to win. 5-Dirtyfoot is a step behind the top ones but may pick up the pieces in a pace melt down.
$10 W/P/S 9-Overdeliver
$2 Exacta box 1,8,9
$1 Trifecta Box 1,8,9
$0.10 Superfecta box 1,5,8,9

Pimlico Race 9 The Very One Stakes
8-Misericordia
or 6-Jo Jo Air? Follow the jockey. John Velazquez rode both last time but chose the 6 here and so will Mick. No more discussion needed, Johnny V took care of it.
$10 W/P/S 6-Jo Jo Air
$2 Exacta 6/8
$1 Pick 4 (Races 6-9) 4,6,7/5,6/1,8,9/6,8

Pimlico Race 10 Galorette Stakes
2-Inflexibility
is a long turf female from the barn of Chad Brown. That is usually enough but this race sets up well for her coming off the layoff. Fresh, she should be a little sharper and sit the trip from her post. The most significant competition may come from 2 stalls outside in 4-Mitchell Road whose freshening was much shorter. And never discount the lesser Chad Brown runner, 9-Barkaa, who won a G3 in France before being imported following two G1 attempts. A firmer turf than she ran over last out may help but she did win on heavy going in France. Maybe the winter off helps more?
$10 W/P/S 9-Barkaa
$1 Trifecta box 2,4,9

Pimlico Race 11 Chick Lang Stakes
In a battle of undefeated horses, can they both lose? 8-Preamble comes in on 3 wins over lesser and 7-Pyron comes in on two. They should fight for favoritism but they have very similar running styles and may set the race up for a closer. The problem is there are no closers in this race so the the ratable of the two above should prevail. 3-Malpais may be faster than either of the horses above but he seems to not like a challenge in the lane and he will get one….or two.
$2 Exacta box 7,8
$0.10 Superfecta box 6,7,8,9

Pimlico Race 12 Dixie Stakes
Mick needs a single and conveniently, it’s here. 12-Catholic Boy is 4 for 5 on the turf with the only loss coming when he was in tight and squeezed in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf. Drawing outside with his tactical speed should be OK as long as he doesn’t go 10 wide on the first turn. He is a G1 winner on both turf and dirt, now is time for him to get to be a champion. If you want a huge price with a chance, try one of the runners coming out of the Henry Clark. The 2nd through 5th finishers are all here and they weren’t separated by much that day.
$10 W/P/S 12-Catholic Boy

Pimlico Race 13 Preakness Stakes
Simply put, Mick is a pedigree snob when it comes to the classics and he doesn’t believe runners from speed-oriented sires fare as well as when the speed influences are on the dam’s side. All of these runners have a chance, some more than others, and most will go on to careers following racing involving things like teasers and padded rooms. So the love goes first to the local horse with no such future, the gutsy gelding, 7-Alwaysmining. But the real bomb may come from 8-Signalman, a runner that comes into this race both fresh and able. He started the year on many Derby watch lists and did not disgrace himself in the Blue Grass after a less than stellar effort in the Fountain of Youth. And both of these have pedigrees that say the distance should be doable but the nod goes to the one with the sprinter on the bottom…8-Signalman.
$10 W/P/S 8-Signalman
$2 Exacta box 7,8

Pimlico Race 14
If Mick is alive in the Rainbow 6, a single will need to get him home. 3-Glory Song from the McCarthy/Ness tandem is the pick but there is much concern about 4-Gnarly Mo. Trainer Rodney Jenkins doesn’t win many with firsters but he doesn’t have them work multiple screamers in the morning unless they are doing it themselves. This one may be special and bringing special ones out on big race days makes those days more fun for connections. Gotta use him.
$10 W/P/S 3-Glory Song
$2 Exacta box 3,4

Pimlico Rainbow 6
Race 8: 1,8,9
Race 9: 6,8
Race 10: 2,4,9
Race 11: 7,8
Race 12: 12
Race 13: 7,8

Same picks for the Pick 5 starting in the 9th race and the Pick 4 staring in the 10th.