Friday Horse Racing at Pimlico: Garrity has picks in 5 stakes races including the Hilltop and Black Eyed Susan
Garrity's first post at Pimlico is at 3:07 pm EDT.
It’s the day before the big day, which, when the big day is the Preakness, means it’s time for the Black Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico. It’s a great day of high-quality racing in Baltimore, where six stakes races, four of them graded and three of them featuring 3-year-old fillies, will be run. We have plays in five of them, and we expect blue skies, superb spring weather, fast dirt, and firm turf. Let’s go.
Pimlico Race Course, Race 8, 3:07 pm ET
Grade 3 Allaire Du Pont Distaff Match Series Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
A good field of eight lines up for the Allaire Du Pont. The pick is 5-Horologist, a 5-year-old New Jersey-bred mare who had an excellent if abbreviated campaign last year, winning two of her three starts, with her only loss to Monomoy Girl in the Grade 1 La Troienne at Churchill Downs in September. That loss was nothing to be ashamed of, as Monomoy Girl is one of the finest distaffers to come down the pike in many, many years. We like that Horologist made her first start of the year in a minor stakes at Aqueduct last month, which she won without having to run too hard; that effort should have her razor-sharp here. The past performances of all the fillies and mares in the race show that when she’s at her best, Horologist is superior, and we think she will be at her best today. We will bet her to win, and we will do so enthusiastically. The bet: Pimlico, Race 8, $50 to win on 5-Horologist.
Pimlico Race Course, Race 10, 4:09 pm ET
Grade 3 Miss Preakness Stakes, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3-Year-Old Fillies
The Miss Preakness drew a field of eight, but we have eyes for only one: 2-Red Ghost. She’s a Wesley Ward trainee who is undefeated in two career starts on dirt, and we think she is going to make it three for three today. The pace in the Miss Preakness looks fast, so look for Red Ghost to stalk, to sit in the middle of the pack, and to pounce when the pacesetters begin to tire. We will bet her to win at 5-1. The bet: Pimlico, Race 10, $35 to win on 2-Red Ghost.
Pimlico Race Course, Race 11, 4:40 pm ET
$100,000 Hilltop Stakes, 1 mile, Turf, 3-Year-Old Fillies
Fourteen sophomore fillies go in the HIlltop. It’s a tough field, but the one on the rail, 1-Tracy Flick, is very intriguing. She’s a maiden, winless in two career starts, and while on the surface that would be sufficient reason for eliminating her from win contention, there are a couple of things about her worth noting. The first is that she’s already finished first in a race, in her career debut at Gulfstream Park in February, when she bested a field of twelve, finishing first by a neck, only to be disqualified and placed third after some bumping down the stretch. She ran even better in her second start, finishing a hard-luck second, just a nose behind the winner, but was again disqualified, placed seventh by the stewards, after another bumper-cars incident down the lane.
So while Tracy Flick has yet officially to win a race, she’s already run well enough to do so -- and she’s done so twice. But instead of entering her in another maiden race, trainer Shug McGaughey, who is not known for rushing horses, has entered her in a stakes race. She’s got a terrific turf pedigree, by War Front out of an Arch mare, she adds blinkers, and she has enough early speed to get a forwardly-placed trip, which is important, as the race on paper figures to have a slow pace, which will favor her, and put the deep closers at a disadvantage. We like her prospects, and at 6-1, we think she is a terrific wagering proposition. There are some tough horses in this group, and this is not an easy pick, but we see a lot of upside with Tracy Flick, and her price makes her the play. We will bet her to win. The bet: Pimlico, Race 11, $40 to win on 1-Tracy Flick.
Pimlico Race Course, Race 12, 5:12 pm ET
Grade 3 Pimlico Special, 1 3/16 miles, Dirt, 3 & Up
There are some talented runners among the ten older horses who will go to the gate for the Pimlico Special, but they all have one thing in common: a lack of early speed. They’re all either stalkers or closers who don’t want any part of the early pace.
The exception is 11-Last Judgment, who was claimed by trainer Mike Maker last fall, and who has shown since that he is very dangerous when given an uncontested lead. We think that is exactly what will happen here, and we think once Last Judgment is allowed to gallop on the lead, the rest of the field will be spinning their wheels trying to catch him. We think he wires this group, and will bet him to win at 4-1. The bet: Pimlico, Race 12, $35 to win on 11-Last Judgment.
Pimlico Race Course, Race 13, 5:44 pm ET
Grade 2 Black Eyed Susan Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, 3-Year-Old Fillies
Handicapping races filled with 3-year-old Thoroughbreds, of either sex, this time of year, involves at least as much projection as it does analysis of their past races. The trick is not to determine whose last race, or last few races, was superior, but whose races portend a step forward. These horses are not finished products, and they can and do jump forward significantly from one race to the next. The trick is trying to read the tea leaves to predict improvement, and while it is difficult, the rewards for doing so, both intellectual and monetary, are significant.
In the 2021 Black Eyed Susan Stakes, we think the filly moving forward will be 9-Adventuring. She’s a Brad Cox trainee, and Godolphin homebred, who has run four times, all of them good efforts, including a win in a minor stakes at Turfway Park on March 27. Her speed figure for that win was ordinary, but we think that was more a function of the synthetic surface at Turfway than her ability, and we think that back on conventional dirt, she is going to run huge. Look for her to press what should be a moderate early pace, and to win with a big late move. We will bet her to win at 4-1. The bet: Pimlico, Race 13, $40 to win on 9-Adventuring.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the races, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.