Preakness Weekend Horse Racing News and Stakes Recap
Preakness Weekend Horse Racing News and Stakes Recap
Adena Springs Miss Preakness – Grade III – Six Furlongs – Three-Year-Old Fillies – Pimlico
The three-year-old filly Irish Jasper (First Defence – Irish Connection, by Mr. Greeley) gained her first graded stakes victory in the Adena Springs Miss Preakness (GIII). The dark bay daughter of First Defence has lived a rather successful career, winning five of her eight lifetime starts, but she’s had a bit of trouble kicking off her 2015 season with two losses and one win in listed stakes company. In the Miss Preakness, Irish Jasper looked to have a challenge ahead of her when she bumped with Streamsong at the break, but she managed to settle comfortably off the pace. Down the stretch, she sped past dueling leaders Huasca and Coco’s Wildcat to claim the win by 1-1/4 lengths.
Allaire DuPont Distaff – Grade III – 1-1/8 Miles – Three-Year-Olds and Up Fillies and Mares – Pimlico
The four-year-old Stopchargingmaria (Tale of the Cat – Exotic Bloom, by Montbrook) continues to add to her list of achievements, this time taking the Allaire DuPont Distaff (GIII) in dominating fashion. The dark bay filly was seen reeling off several victories in the three-year-old filly classics last year, including the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (GII), Mother Goose Stakes (GI), and Alabama Stakes (GI). She started off her four-year-old season with a runner-up finish to Princess Violet in the Madison Stakes (GI), but Stopchargingmaria would not fall short again in the Allaire DuPont. Returning to the track of her Black-Eyed Susan victory, the filly overcame a bobbling start to secure a position on the rail. Further into the race, Stopchargingmaria swung wide to make her advance, quickly opening up by four lengths to win the race over Yahilwa.
Black-Eyed Susan Stakes – Grade II – 1-1/8 Miles – Three-Year-Old Fillies – Pimlico
As Lady and the Track contributor Reinier predicted, Keen Pauline (Pulpit – Grand Pauline, by Two Punch) was a force to reckon with in the Grade II Black-Eyed Susan Stakes for sophomore fillies. With only a juvenile maiden win and runs in allowance races to her credit, the Dale Romans-trained chestnut filly was projected to be no competitor to the more experienced fillies in the field. At the start of the Pimlico classic, Keen Pauline jumped to the lead from her outside, ninth post position and set the pace a bit off the rail. She remained there with longshot Gypsy Judy running slightly behind her, but no filly would be able to pass her at the wire. Jockey Javier Castellano set her to work down the stretch, and Keen Pauline responded to win by 2-3/4 lengths over the closing Oaklawn stakes winner Include Betty.
Pimlico Special – Grade III -1-3/16 Miles – Three-Year-Olds and Up – Pimlico
Javier Castellano pulled off a Pimlico pair with his win aboard Commissioner (A. P. Indy – Flaming Heart, by Touch Gold) in the Pimlico Special (GIII). The four-year-old bay colt had a rather promising season as a three-year-old with runner-up finishes in the Peter Pan Stakes (GII) and Belmont Stakes (GI). Returning as a four-year-old, Commissioner made his debut in the competitive Donn Handicap (GI) but finished a disappointing sixth. Next racing in the Skip Away Stakes (GIII), the colt achieved his first win since an allowance optional claiming victory last January. In the Pimlico Special, Commissioner briefly ran in third before a momentary duel with Encryption for the lead. Once he caught the lead, the bay colt flew down the stretch to win by 2-1/2 lengths in a time of 1:56.09.
Vagrancy Handicap – Grade III – 6-1/2 Furlongs – Four-Year-Olds and Up Fillies and Mares – Belmont
While Pimlico certainly had some major racing taking place this weekend, Belmont Park hosted the important Vagrancy Handicap (GIII) for speed-oriented older fillies and mares. Of those females, La Verdad (Yes It’s True – Noble Fire, by Hook and Ladder) proved to be the speediest. Last seen winning the Grade II Distaff Handicap by over five lengths, this five-year-old bay mare seems to be hitting her best stride as she ages. In the Vagrancy, La Verdad took the lead at the start from the inside post position, but she didn’t get away with an easy lead as Room for Me and Frivolity pushed her. The mare sprinted free of her rivals around the final turn but was once again denied the opportunity for an easy run as Room for Me ate away at her lead, allowing the determined La Verdad to win by only half a length.
Gallorette Handicap – Grade III Turf – 1-1/16 Miles – Three-Year-Olds and Up Fillies and Mares – Pimlico
The Irish-bred Watsdachances (Diamond Green [FR] – High Finance [IRE], by Entrepreneur [GB]) entered the Gallorette Handicap (GIIIT) as the favorite and exited it as the winner. The five-year-old bay mare has been closely chasing a graded stakes win since her 2012 win in the Miss Grillo Stakes (GII), racking up a record of ten top 5 finishes in the same number of graded stakes races. The turf-running mare finally garnered the laurels in Pimlico’s Gallorette against a field of eleven. Hot Pimlico jockey Castellano patiently handled his mount as she ran in seventh for the beginning of the race and moved her wide before asking her for her best effort. He asked, and she gave, closing the gap between herself and the leaders to win by a widening length over Emotional Kitten.
Longines Dixie Stakes – Grade II Turf – 1-1/16 Miles – Three-Year-Olds and Up – Pimlico
A gray blur took the Longines Dixie Stakes (GII) over the Pimlico turf. Prior to this race, the four-year-old Ironicus (Distorted Humor – Meghan’s Joy, by A. P. Indy) had run in only maiden and allowance company, but something about this gray horse impressed trainer Claude McGaughey III enough to bump him up into graded stakes company. Running in ninth of the field of thirteen, Ironicus settled under Javier Castellano and waited to make a late move. A late move he made, shooting from his place at the back of the pack at the three-quarters pole to second in the stretch. With a final burst of energy, Ironicus breezed by Cage Fighter to score his first graded stakes win by 2-3/4 lengths.
Preakness Stakes – Grade I – 1-3/16 Miles – Three-Year-Olds – Pimlico
In a downpour, American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile – Littleprincessemma, by Yankee Gentleman) cemented himself as this year’s Triple Crown hopeful with a dominating victory in the Preakness Stakes (GI). The bay colt with the recognizable short tail has kept his record unblemished as a three-year-old, winning each of his four graded starts since claiming the 2014 Eclipse Award as Champion Two-Year-Old Colt. In his second race over a sloppy track, American Pharoah overcame his inside post position at the start as Espinoza urged him to the front. The Derby winner easily led the field in a path off the rail, and when asked at the final turn, he responded impressively enough to leave no doubt of who would earn the black-eyed Susans that day. Relishing the wet conditions, American Pharoah bounded to a seven-length victory over newcomer Tale of Verve, thus setting himself up for a potential run for the twelfth Triple Crown title.