American Pharoah Wins the Preakness
American Pharoah took one more step towards racing immortality on Saturday as he splashed through the slop at Pimlico to win the Grade 1 Preakness Stakes. Sent off as the 4/5 favorite, American Pharoah (BetPTC.com Top Selection) was pushed to the lead early by Victor Espinoza and after shaking off an early bid by Mr. Z, was able to relax as they started to run down the backstretch. Mr. Z, Dortmund, and Divining Rod all took runs at him as they ran into the final turn, but Espinoza had plenty left in the gas tank and American Pharoah kicked away and opened up at will down the lane, dominating by seven lengths at the wire. Long shot Tale of Verve got up for second while Divining Rod (BetPTC.com Longshot) ran third to complete a $985 trifecta with the favorite on top.
In the $300,000 Dixie Stakes it was Ironicus who who rallied from well off the pace and exploded between rivals to get the win. Sent off at odds of 7/1, Ironicus and Javier Castellano were ninth early on as former Dixie champ Skyring went out to set the pace. Skyring brought the lead to the top of the lane but was immediately swallowed up by several rivals, including Cage Fighter who grabbed the lead in mid-stretch. But Ironicus had all the momentum from the back and passed Cage Fighter and drew off to win by nearly three lengths.
Watsdachances scored a very solid win in the Grade 3 Gallorette Handicap for Javier Castellano who continued his hot riding all weekend. Watsdachances (BetPTC.com 3rd Selection) was seventh early on but Castellano got her in gear on the far turn and they looped up with a wide move and blew past Emotional Kitten (BetPTC.com 2nd Selection) who battled bravely but was second best. Sandbar (BetPTC.com Longshot) took home top honors in the Maryland Sprint Handicap, winning a hard fought battle to get the job done. Sandbar and Joel Rosario were second early on behind Happy My Way (BetPTC.com 2nd Selection) who set the early pace. Happy My Way brought the lead into the stretch but Sandbar wore him down and went on to win by three quarters of a length over Service For Ten who rallied from seventh early to get up and run second.
Keen Pauline goes all the way to upset the Black-Eyed Susan
Keen Pauline wasted no time getting to the lead on Friday in the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico, and she stayed there all the way around the oval as she scored impressively. Sent off at odds of 15/1, Keen Pauline and Javier Castellano got to the lead and were able to set very reasonable fractions, going through a half mile in 49.09 seconds. Keen Pauline kicked away at the top of the lane and her competition were all tiring, with the exception of Include Betty who came from the clouds to run up into the second spot but was still almost three lengths short of Keen Pauline at the wire.
Stopchargingmaria was very convincing in winning the Grade 3 DuPont Distaff by four lengths as the heavy favorite. Sent off at odds of 3/5, Stopchargingmaria (BetPTC.com Top Selection) was in mid-pack early on as Yahilwa set the opening half mile fraction in 46.53 seconds. Yahilwa turned for home with the lead, but after that demanding first half mile she was no match late for Stopchargingmaria who blew on by to win by four lengths. Yahilwa (BetPTC.com 2nd Selection) did hold on for second over Joint Return who ran third. Ben’s Cat (BetPTC.com 2nd Selection) proved he’s still got it as he rolled from off the pace to catch Bold Thunder (BetPTC.com Top Selection) and win the Jim McKay Turf Sprint. Ben’s Cat was aided by Bold Thunder ducking out in mid-stretch which might have cost him the win as Ben’s Cat got up late to win by a neck over Bold Thunder.
Deep closers ran 1-2 in the Grade 3 Miss Preakness Stakes as Irish Jasper and Huasca (BetPTC.com Top Selection) closed from 7th and 6th respectively in the 6 furlong event to get up and finish 1-2. Irish Jasper got a clever ride from Kendrick Carmouche and split runners decisively to get up and win by just over a length to Huasca who was second. Miss Temple City (BetPTC.com Top Selection) lived up to her favorite billing as she took home the Hilltop Stakes with ease, scoring by almost three lengths in the end.
The Grade 3 Pimlico Special saw Commissioner dominate his foes as he was up on the front end the whole way and won by two and a half solid lengths. Page McKenney closed to finish a clear cut second with Cat Burgler running third. And in the Skipat Stakes it was Galiana (BetPTC.com 3rd Selection) who pulled clear late to beat favored Lady Sabelia (BetPTC.com 2nd Selection) to get the win.