As noted below, the picks for the Preakness Stakes are in a previous post, to which a link is provided. (Speaking of which, what’s with this logo?
Picks have been updated to reflect scratches.
Race 3 | Sir Barton Stakes | 1 1/16 miles
1. King for a Day
2. Top Line Growth
3. Trifor Gold
4. Tone Broke
Comment: King for a Day would appear to have the class edge if he can handle this level in his first race since November. Otherwise, Top Line Growth is the next best. Trifor Gold was a longshot second in a short field in the Tesio, but merits exotics inclusion at 10-1.
Race 5 | James W. Murphy Stakes | 1 1/16 miles
1. War Film
3. Real News
4. English Bee
Comment: War Film lost two graded stakes races by a total of three lengths and should benefit on the drop to an ungraded stake. The main threat to that one is Grade 3 stakes winner Current who exits the Grade 1 Florida Derby.
Race 6 |Grade III Maryland Sprint Stakes | 6 furlongs
3. New York Central
Comment: Proforma switches to dirt and should improve in second start of the year. Lewisfield wouldn’t surprise, but his best performances seem to be against state-bred company, which makes it harder to accept favoritism in the morning line.
Race 7 | Searching Stakes | 1 1/2 miles turf
2. Homeland Security
4. Peach of a Gal
Comment: Ickymasho, the winner of the Grade 3 Bewitch Stakes at Keeneland at this distance, is a deserving favorite. Homeland Security finished well behind the favorite in the Grade 3 Orchid at Gulfstream, but has won at this distance.
Race 9 | The Very One Stakes | 5 furlongs turf
1. Jo Jo Air
3. Wild About Star
4. Souper Echo
Comment: Jo Jo Air comes off the William Walker win at Churchill at the distance, can improve in second start of the year and gets tepid favoritism in the morning line that makes her even more inviting to bet. Misericordia loses jockey John Velazquez to the favorite, but gets back the pilot she had in her last win.
Race 10 | Grade III Gallorette Handicap | 1 1/16 miles turf
2. I’m So Fancy
4. Mitchell Road
Comment: Barkaa is a group winner in France and was well-thought of enough to fun in the Longines Prix de Diane at Chantilly last year. Her first race in the states in September was dull, but she’s in the right barn (Chad Brown) and offers a lot of class for the value of a 6-1 morning line. She’s no single for multi-race exotics, but she’s the win bet in an even field. I’m So Fancy is a group winner in Ireland and makes her U.S. debut — would not surprise. Inflexibility from the Brown barn cannot be ignored.
Race 11 | Grade III Chick Lang Stakes | 6 furlongs
3. Gladiator King
Comment: Another race where multi-race bettors better use multiple horses. Malpais shouldn’t be hurt by one less furlong as a proven front runner. Preamble should improve in the second start of the year and could be the biggest threat just off the lead. Gladiator King — the winner of the Grade 3 Hutcheson Stakes is 6-1– and Pyron merit inclusion.
Race 12 | Grade II Dixie Stakes | 1 1/16 miles turf
1. Catholic Boy
2. Inspector Lynley
3. Real Story
4. Have At It
Comment: The outside posts do not thrill for the top picks, but their resumes are imposing. The only question about Catholic Boy is if he’s ready in his first start of the year since last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic. He’s a Grade 1 winner on the turf and dirt — the Belmont Derby and Travers Stakes, respectively, and has four wins in five turf starts. The pick and maybe even a single on some multi-race exotics tickets. Inspector Lynley will be in his fourth start of the year — Catholic Boy at his best is better, but the inspector has been in the money in eight of 11 turf tries. Real Story, 10-1 morning line, picks up Velazquez for his third start of the year and is a Grade 3 winner on the turf. Better than his odds suggest and merits a chance but probably not better than the top two.
Race 13 | Grade I Preakness Stakes | 1 3/16 miles
See previous post — here