Stakes selections at Pimlico 5/20/16

It really didn’t matter to me that I hit the winner of the Kentucky Derby way back at its peak in November. The big favorite won, and so did the 2nd and 3rd favorites, in order. Pure, utter, chalk, the bane of value handicappers. Frankly, the 2nd favorite and 2nd finisher Exaggerator was also in my top 5 of horses to play straight win bets on then.  I could have played exactas to all 5 of them and hope to score the exacta, worth nearly $200 for a $2 wager.  I had never seriously considered exactas that early on.  Maybe come November, it will be time to do so.

Moving on: I am now an employee at Emerald Downs, the status of which renders me ineligible to be in the 123 Racing contest there.   I still am eligible to be part of The Racing Biz’s 2 day contest, 5 stakes races both Saturday and Sunday at Pimlico.   Here I present info on the Friday races.

PIMLICO SPECIAL: 1-3/16 miles, Grade 3, 300k, 3YO+
My top 3 are Savoy Stomp, Page McKenney, Golden Glint
Savoy Stomp has the best Average Winning Distance numbers from pedigree (Megdalia d’Oro, Crystal Current by AP Indy). One of two horses in optimal pace form. Small new top of 95 achieved in March, and only horse in field to win 1st off layoff.  Best works: 4 since the Skip Away on 4/2 at Gulfstream, 1 very fast. Switching back to maiden-breaking win by John Velazquez. Somewhat wide bid for much of the Skip Away. This closer just didn’t have what it took to win then. But the fast 89 Brisnet suggests there is more in the tank.
Potential overlays: Savoy Stomp, Heisinfront

JIM MCKAY TURF SPRINT: 5 furlongs, turf, 100k, 3YO+.
My top 3 are Big Guy Ian, Ben’s Cat, Jack’s In The Deck.
Big Guy Ian is in bounceback pace position after lifetime best triple digit speed figures, then bounce to 75 last out in the Elusive Quality. One of three horses to improve on first call 1st after layoff. Best turn time and gain of the field.
Potential overlays: Big Guy Ian, Jack’s In The Deck.

Allaire Dupont DISTAFF Stakes, 9 furlongs, Grade 3, 150k, fillies/mares 3YO+.
My top 3 are Camille Claudel, Engaginglee, Savings Account.  Camille Claudel may be the longshot here, but I like her as the big winner. One of two horses to win straight off layoff. Best works, 5 in all, 4 of which are very fast. Switches back to regular rider Forest Boyce, who piloted two of the mare’s 3 lifetime wins.  Also appears to be the lone overlay.

HILLTOP Stakes: 8.5 furlongs, turf, for 3YO fillies, 100k. Top 3 depends on entries. If one of the horses scratches, the also-eligible Lookout Sister is my top pick, with Thundering Sky 2nd and Look Who’s Talking 3rd.  If no scratches, the latter two are my chosen top 2, with Cowgirl Tough  rounding out my trifecta.   Lookout Sister won both lifetime races at Del Mar, including the Small Wonder in September. Having won her maiden debut, do not expect her to experience rust today. 4 works since last, most recent one a bullet. Switches back to original jockey Trevor McCarthy. Waiting since April 2nd to stretch.  Thundering Sky’s lone start at the distance on April produced best figure of the field, a 91. Measured as having best figures overall.
Overlays: Melody Croon, Thundering Sky, Look Who’s Talking. Lookout Sister (if in the race), Cowgirl Tough (if Lookout Sister not in)

Finally the BLACK EYED SUSAN, race for leading 3YOs going 9 furlongs, Grade 2 event, 250k.
My top 3 are Dothraki Queen, Ma Can Do It and Midnight On Oconee.
Dothraki Queen is the classic ‘now’ horse.Winner of her maiden debut and the subsequent Pocahontas, with diminishing returns since.  4 works, 3 at Churchill, last 2 very fast, one a bullet. 1 shipping win. Only time she switched from turf to dirt, she won. She does likewise today, shipping from the Keeneland turf and an 8th place finish in the Appalachian, 4/14.
Overlays are each of my top 3 here.

Back in a bit with the Preakness capsule focus.

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