Weekend Recap 5/18

California Chrome takes the Preakness Stakes 

California Chrome took one more step towards racing immortality on Saturday as he took home the top honors in the Grade 1 $1,500,000 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.  Sent off as the prohibitive 1/2 favorite in the field of ten, California Chrome ( Top Selection) broke beautifully under jockey Victor Espinoza who immediately took him out a couple of paths and secured a good spot in behind early leader Pablo Del Monte and Ria Antonia who rushed up to be second.  Espinoza kept California Chrome in third most of the way down the backstretch before Social Inclusion started an early run on the outside at the half mile pole.  Espinoza wanted to keep his spot and made his move and as they came to the quarter pole, California Chrome kicked in that patented move at the top of the lane and opened up three lengths.  Ride on Curlin ( 3rd Selection) had started to unleash his rally at the three eighths pole and he loomed the only danger to California Chrome at the eighth pole, but California Chrome had plenty left in the tank and held on to win by a length and a half.  Ride on Curlin was second while Social Inclusion held off a late run from General A Rod ( Longshot) to get third.

In the Dixie Stakes it was Utley and veteran rider Edgar Prado who produced a stunning rally down the outside to get up for the win.  Sent off at odds of 7/1, Utley was seventh early on as Fredricksburg and Chamois went out to set the pace.  Chamois took over in mid-stretch but Utley and Hey Leroy ( 2nd Selection) came roaring down the outside with Utley up to win by a length over Hey Leroy.  Class Leader ( Top Selection) had to rally from far back to get up and win the Sir Barton by a head over a very game Life in Shambles who had the lead from the quarter pole all the way until the final jump.

Somali Lemonade ( 2nd Selection) went all the way on the lead to take home the Grade 3 Gallorette Handicap, holding off a late rally from Watsdachanes ( Top Selection) to get the win. Somali Lemonade opened up five lengths in mid-stretch but drifted at the sixteenth pole and was barely able to hold on as Watsdachances rallied to just miss by half a length.  Wallyanna ( 2nd Selection) turned in one of the more dominating performances of the afternoon, pulling away to win the James Murphy Stakes by almost five lengths over long shot Open The Bank.  Meadowood was also very impressive pulling away from Brewing ( 2nd Selection) in the late stages.  Ageless ( Top Selection) and Luis Saez were ninth early on in the Very One Stakes but were first at the wire, getting up to win by three quarters of a length over 28/1 shot Perfect Measure ( 3rd Selection) to key a $135 exacta.  And Happy My Way ( Top Selection) won the Maryland Sprint Handicap in very facile fashion, winning by five over Lemon Drop Dream ( 2nd Selection).

Stopchargingmaria wins the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes 

Stopchargingmaria and Javier Castellano overcame a wide journey to get up and win the $500,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes on Friday at Pimlico.  Sent off as the 7/2 second choice in the field of eleven, Stopchargingmaria set up shop in mid-pack early on as long shots Image of Anna and Vero Amore went out to set the early fractions which were pretty moderate.  Stopchargingmaria started her run as they went to the far turn and hooked up with Vero Amore at the eighth pole and gradually wore that rival down, winning by a neck.  Vero Amore was second while Fortune Pearl finished up in third.

In the Pimlico Special it was Revolutionary ( 3rd Selection) and Mike Smith who were last down the backstretch but first at the wire as they put in a tremendous run from the back of the pack to win.  Revolutionary was still fifth in mid-stretch but was able to reel in Prayer For Relief and Cat Burgler in the final jumps to get the win.  Miss Behaviour took home the Miss Preakness Stakes as she went right to the front and never looked back, opening up down the lane by almost five lengths and winning by almost two as Stormy Novel rallied to get second.  The formidable veteran Ben’s Cat was one of the highlights of the day as he reeled in Great Attack to win the washed off the turf Jim McKay Sprint.  Ben’s Cat ( Top Selection) has been a staple in Maryland the last few years and once again asserted his dominance as he pulled away from Great Attack ( 2nd Selection) late to win by two lengths.


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