Kent Baker's Stakes Analysis


Kent Baker's Stakes Analysis


Kent “Knobby” Baker spent 38 years as a sports reporter for the Baltimore Sun, covering horse racing, the Baltimore Orioles, the Baltimore Colts, University of Maryland and the Naval Academy before retiring in 2007. The Hagerstown, MD native joined the Preakness media relations team in 2008 and will continue that role in 2013.


$55,000, opt alw/clg, 3yo&up, 1 1/16 mi.

With a win over the Pimlico strip and two straight overall, Bake
Shop (9) appears the one to beat, but he should receive stiff opposition from Aussi Astin (1) and Benny Or Local (5). The
former gets red-hot jockey Joel Rosario while the latter has
one of the local area's top trainers in Dane Kobiskie. Not much
separates those three.
Win: Bake Shop (9)
Exacta: Box Bake Shop (9) with Aussi
Austin (1), Benny Or
Local (5) and Hakama (6)
Longshot Pick: Wild Louis (8)
$40,000, The Deputed Testamony Starter Handicap,
3yo&up, 1 1/16 mi.

The numbers favor Who Dat Boy (5), who turned in a nice second
in upper allowance ranks last time out. Rosie Napravnik will be
riding a horse which occasionally throws in a clinker, but is almost
always on the tote board. Hello Lover (9), a son of the prolific
Maryland sire Not For Love, probably will be the post-time favorite
although a tendency to go wide has been costly in his recent races.
Win: Who Dat Boy (5)
Exacta: Box Who Dat Boy (5) with Hello Lover (9) and No Brakes (7)
Longshot Pick: Leadhills (8)
$52,000, alw, 3yo&up, 5 fur (turf).

This should be a frantic scramble for the lead in this sprint on
the grass and that could set up nicely for Hesagoldmine (12),
who usually gets going strongly halfway through the race.
However, the consistency belongs to Bowman's Boy (5) since
he began running for Damon Dilodovico off a claim. Relentless
Move (7) and Inflamed Spirit (6) should be in the scramble for
early supremacy.
Win: Bowman's Boy (5)
Exacta: Play Bowman's Boy (5) over Available (2), Thames Trader (4), Brooklyn Cowboy (8)

and Hesagoldmine (12)

Longshot Pick:
Lil Mr B (13)
$100,000, The Rollicking Stakes, 2yo, 5 fur.

Trainer Wesley Ward seems very serious about capturing the
baby race on the card, sending two extremely fast horses into
the field, one a colt, one a filly. A slight edge may belong to
the colt No Nay Never (4) although it wouldn't be surprising
to see Sweet Emma Rose (6) home in front. Take Time to
Pray (7) could challenge based on familiarity with the Pimlico
Win: No Nay Never (4)
Exacta: Play No Nay Never (4) over Sweet Emma Rose (6), Take Time to Pravy (7) and Silvertonguedtommy (5)
Longshot Pick:
Knit One Purr Two (8)
$52,000, alw, 3yo&up, f&m, , 1/16 mi (turf).

Barring removal from the grass because of inclement weather,
a crowded bunch will go postward here and separating them
is no easy chore. It might be worth a flyer on Waquoit's Dance
(11), a veteran turf runner , who was drawing a bead on the
winner's circle last time before going wide and finishing fourth.
But it would not be shocking to see as many as six other horses
Win: Waquoit's Dance (11)
Exacta: Box Waquoit's Dance (11) with Moral High Ground (5), Nokaze (9) and Marataya's Tune (14)
Longshot Pick:
Sense of a Woman (12)
$100,000, The Chick Lang Stakes, 3yo, 6 fur.
A shipper's delight, this sprint dedicated to the father of the
Preakness is almost certain to be won by an out-of-town
interest. Bob Baffert has a fleet colt entered in Zee Bros (2)
and Ward is back with Undrafted (9), an also-ran in the
Blue Grass Stakes. At risk of bucking against those two,
the choice is City of Weston (7), owner of a three-race
winning streak and peaking for this spot.
Win: City of Weston (7)
Exacta: Box City of Weston (7) with Zee Bros (2), Clawback (8) and Undrafted (9)
Longshot Pick:
Brave Dave (6)
$100,000, The James W. Murphy Stakes, 3yo, 1 mi. (turf)

Another Ward entry, Redwood Kitten (10) is about as honest
as they come and seems perfectly suited for the distance. It
won't be easy because he'll have to contend with one of the
many strong Todd Pletcher horses in his voluminous stables,
Notcatbutallama (1), the likely favorite. Heat Press (4) has a
respectable record but is untested on the turf and could be the
Win: Redwood Kitten (10)
Exacta; Box Redwood Kitten (10) with Notacatbutallama (1), Heat Press (4)and Shining Copper (6)
Longshot Pick:
Special Skills (8)
$150,000, The Allaire Dupont Distaff Stakes, Grade III,
f&m, 3yo&up, 1 1/16 mi.

A head-to-head battle could develop here between Summer
Applause (6) and Brushed by a Star (7), , both of whom have
been competing in selective company. Both have graded
victories on their resumes and in their only meeting, Summer
Applause's rider lost the irons and she ran up the track while
Brushed by a Star was second. A case can also be made
for Moon Philly (3), the local hope trained by Mike Trombetta.
Win: Brushed by a Star (7)
Exacta: Box Brushed by a Star (7) with Summer Applause (6) and Moon Philly (3)
Longshot Pick:
Sea Island (5)
$150,000, The Gallorette Handicap, Grade III, f&m,
3 yo &up, 1 1/16 mi (turf)

Great Britain-bred Samitar (4) has been running at the highest
stakes levels and should be able to handle this group although
she should be tested. If the latest flop of Old Tune (5) is thrown
out as an aberration, she is a mare with an impressive six-race
winning streak and Pianist (3) has a solid record on the grass.
Embarr (6) also figures in this mix off a nice local stakes score.
Win: Samitar (4)
Exacta: Play Samitar (4) over Pianist (3), Old Tune (5), Embarr (6) and Silver Screamer (9)
Longshot Pick:
Hard Not to Like (1)
$150,000, The Maryland Sprint Handicap, Grade III,
3yo&up, 6 fur.

John Velazquez will be aboard Sage Valley (10) in place of
the injured Ramon Dominguez, who had guided him to three
straight triumphs in New York. He looks like the class of this
field followed by Hardened Wildcat (4), who posted an impressive speed figure in his last out. Locally, the best shot comes from  King-Leatherbury's entry, Maniot (3), winner
of four in a row in Maryland.
Win: Sage Valley (10)
Exacta: Play Sage Valley (10) over Action Andy (1), Manito (3) Hardened Wildcat (4) and Candyman E (7)
Longshot Pick: Poseidon's Warrior (6)
$300,000, The Dixie Stakes, Grade II, 3yo&up,
1 /18 mi (turf).


Pimlico's oldest stakes race (won initially by the horse
Preakness in 1870), the Longines Dixie has drawn a power-
packed lineup with a host of entries having a chance to win.
One who is looking good in the pre-race buildup, Shug
McGaughey-trained Imaging (4) shoots out of the pack at
the bettors. But he'll have plenty to stare him down, including D.
Wayne Lukas- conditioned Optimizer (2), who is coming back
after running a game second to Wise Dan in the Classic on
Kentucky Derby day.
Win: Imagining (4)
Exacta: Box Imagining (4) with Wilcox Inn (1), Optimizer (2) and Swift Warropr (9)
Longshot Pick:
Howe Great (7)
$1 million, The Preakness Stakes, 3yo, 1 3/16 mi.

All signs keep pointing to a repeat by Kentucky Derby
winner Orb (1), who is expected to overcome the dreaded
inside post in a rather compact nine-horse field. Orb worked sensational figures at Belmont Park before arriving at Pimlico
this week and has galloped fine at his temporary home.
Mylute (5) is expected to receive support at the betting
windows with Rosie Napravnik,  who started her career in
Maryland, in the saddle and Departing (4) is somewhat the mystery figure after skipping the Derby following his score in Illinois.
Win: Orb (1)
Exacta: Place Orb (1) over Departing (4), Mylute (5) and Goldencents (2)
Longshot Pick:
Oxbow (6)
$52,000, alw, 3yo&up, 1 1/16 mi.

If the bettors arenot bleary eyed by now and want to go out
a winner, Code West (8) looks like the surest thing of the day. Out of the Bob Baffert barn, he comes east with easily the best credentials of this group. The race could be for second place because it doesn't seem anyone can challenge this favorite, so the way to go is to hope for a long, longshot underneath him.
Win: Code West (8)
Exacta: Play Code West (8) over Ethelred (3), Forest Jingles (9), Crown Polis (10) and Dinos Romance (12)
Longshot Pick:
Respectful Ed (2)
$40,000, The Kattegat's Pride Starter Handicap.
f&m, 3yo & up, 1 1/6 mi
  This shapes up as a competitive field with Bayonne (8)
boasting the top credentials. However, most of her
resume was built at Charles Town and the Maryland tracks haven't been particularly fruitful for her.
In this same race last May, Bayonne ran seventh and
Franstein (2) was a game runnerup. Look for a repeat
of that  performance with Travis Dunkelberger in the saddle.
 Win: Franstein (2)
Box Franstein (2)
with Bayonne (8)
and Side By Side (4)
Longshot pick:
Scip's Sonata (6)

 $50,000, mdn, f&m, 3youp, 1 1/16 mi (turf)

A highly crowded entry box featuring females who have been knocking on the door of the winner's circle brings
the prospect ofan upset. Strictly on a hunch, the pick is
Killington (14), a daughter of renowned turf runner Artie
Schiller. She gets noble veteran Gary Stevens as the rider
and didn't seem to mind being outside last time when beaten a nose while starting fromthe No. 11 post. But as many as seven entries have a legitimate shot.


Win: Killington (14)
Box Killington (14)
with Nashly's Vow (1),
Yuzuru (3) and More
Than Sweet (7)
Longshot Pick:
Hit Squad (4) 
$52,000, opt alw/clm, f, 3 yo, 6 fur.

   Talent N Passion (7) looks like the clear cream of this
sprint's lineup after flashing excellent form in two recent
starts at Aqueduct. Under these conditions, she has prospered; only when elevated to stakes company has
she encountered trouble.  If anyone is going to challenge, it probably will be Curlamorous (8), who is seldom off the
Win: Talent N Passion (7)
Play Talent N Passion (7) over Orlyana Queen (3), Heart Of Rome (5)
and Curlamorous (8)  
Longshot Pick:
Dixiluna (6) 
 $52,000, Lady Legends, alw, 3yo, 6 fur.

   It's always difficult to gauge this race since the field is
limited by the number of legendary female riders available,
leaving a host of horses on the also-eligible list. Of those
certain to run barring a scratch, the best seems to be
Grain (7). who also has a female trainer (Katy Voss). But
look out for a speedy entry named Santorini Sun (6), owner of a three-race winning streak. It's his first shot in the allowance ranks, however.
Win: Grain (7)
Play Grain (7) over Dance
With Bull (1), Haywired (3)
and Outbacker (8) 
Longshot Pick:
Santorini Sun (6)
  $52,000, alw, 3 yo&up, 1 1/6 mi (turf)
   Another highly populated field which may shrink significantly if inclement weather prohibits turf racing,
this race could provide another boost to the female side.
The pick is Readyshakego (12), trained by Jessica
Campitelli and to be ridden by Forest Boyce. The colt
should be well rested after nearly a two-month layoff
since Gulfstream Park and he sports a nice closing kick
that could serve him well here.  
Win: Readyshakego (12)

Box Readyshakefo (12)
with Hear The Word (3), Fly'n Bayou (8) and
Barnards Galaxy (16)  

Longshot Pick:
Locche (5)
 $100,000, The Skipat Stakes, f&m, 3yo&up, 6 fur.
    This is likely to be an instance where that old axiom of
"pace makes the race" applies firmly. If the expected
speed duel develops at the front, the perfect setup could
benefit closer Strike the Moon (6). Funnys Approval (2),
Winning Image (3) and Dance to Bristol (5) all like to
spurt to the front, so it will be interesting to see what
fraction times prevail. Strike The Moon will be stalking
for sure.
Win: Strike the Moon (6)

Box Strike the Moon (6)
with Funnys Approval (2),
Winning Image (3) and
Dance to Bristol (5)

Longshot Pick:
Orange's Lil Sis (1) 
 $55,000, opt alw/clg, 3yo&up, 1 1/16 mi (turf)
  This is another loaded turf lineup that could produce
significant value for the player. Flip a coin, take a name
or rely on the colors because this is a wide open affair.
The choice here is Volcano Run (11) from the Tony
Dutrow barn. He has been doing well locally and always seems to be contending. Two horses, Pretension (12) and Wild Louis (10) will go only on the main track, which each is  a legitimate threat to win.


Win: Volcano Run (11)

Box Volcano Run (11)
with Humble and Hungry
(5), Livingston Street (7)
and Followmyfootsteps (8)

Longshot Pick:
Mr. Online (2) 
$100.000, The Miss Preakness Stakes, f, 3 yo, 6 fur.


This seems like a good race in which to take a flyer on
a longshot and the pick is Ben Perkins-trained Jewel of a
Cat (10). She has never been worse than second in five
lifetime outings and has a victory over the track. Two of her
finishes have resulted after a start in the No. 10 slot. She
will have to overcome the probable favorite , I'm Mom's
Favorite (8) and Blueeyesintherein (5), both legitimate
Win: Jewel of a Cat (10)

Exacta: Box Jewel of a
Cat (10) with Tread (2).
Blueeyesintherein (5) and
I'm Mom's Favorite (8)

Longshot Pick: Lighthhouse Bay (9)


$100,000, The Jim McKay Turf Sprint, 3yo&up,
5 fur (turf).

 King Leatherbury's only millionaire, Ben's Cat (7) vies for
his 16th stakes win in his third straight appearance in this
event (a win and a fifth). It won't be an easy assignment
with Bridgetown (2) breaking from the inside and coming
off a layoff since a disappointing effort in the Breeder's Cup
Turf Sprint last fall. Ben's Cat prevailed by two lengths
when they met almost a year ago and is on a two-race
victory streak.
 Win: Ben's Cat (7)


 Exacta: Play Ben's Cat (7)
over Bridgetown (2). Night
Officer (3) and Super Chunky (8)


 Longshot Pick
Kens Cape (6)
$500,000, The Blackeyed Susan Stakes (Grade II),
f, 3yo, 1 1/8 mi.


 The sentimental choice will be local runner,
Walkwithapurpose (5) who had a five-race winning skein
halted in the Gazelle at Aqueduct last time out. But she has
some tough customers to deal with, including Bill-Mott-
trained Emollient (7), a Grade I winner by nine lengths in
her latest. Fiftyshadesofhay (3), the West Coast invader
prepared by Bob Baffert, is no slouch either.
 Win: Emollient (7)


 Exacta: Box Emollient (7)
with Fiftyshadesofhay (3)
and Walkwithapurpose (5)


 Longshot Pick:
Petsit Trianon (4)
$100,000, The Very One Stakes, f&m, 3yo&up,
5 fur (turf)

 Barring inclement weather, another full field is expected
for this female sprint on the grass that looks wide open.
Winner of five straight, Sweet Cassiopeia (13) appears
the one to beat despite the unfavorable post. She has
beaten the other logical choices, Spun Cap (10) and
Sounds of the City (7), a rallying type who could make it
interesting in the final furlong.
Sweet Cassiopeia (13)
 Exacta: Box Sweet
Cassiopeia (13) with
Sensible Lady (3), Sounds
of the City (7 and Spun
Cap (10)
 Longshot Pick:
Too Clever by Half (11)
$300,000, The Pimlico Special (Grade III), 3yo&up,
1 3/16 mi.

 If a two-month rest is not a detrimental factor, the
obvious choice is Last Gunfighter (7), who hasn't been
beaten in excess of a year and has steadily climbed into higher-rated company. Eightofasttocatch (4) has been
generally solid on the local scene, but ran poorly in the
2012 Special and needs to make amends. Doug O'Neill
has entered Maryland-bred Richard's Kid (5), who was
strong last year but not so much in 2013.
  Win: Last Gunfighter (7)
 Exacta: Play Last
Gunfighter (7) over
Brimstone Island (3),
Eighttofasttocatch (4)
and Richard's Kid (5)
 Longshot Pick:
Indian Dance (2)
RACE 13    
$100,000, The Hilltop Stakes, f, 3yo, 1 1/16 (turf)
 Summer of Fun (10) was third in the Breeders Cup
Juvenile Turf and looks to be maturing nicely. She may
have to fend off a swoosh move from Kitten's Point (1)
through the stretch, but has done so in an earlier meeting.
They have each finished in front of each other. Birdlover
(4) has a surplus of speed and can't be ignored and
Emotional Kitten (6) has acquitted herself well.
 Win: Summer of Fun (10)
 Exacta: Play Summer of
Fun (1) over Kitten's Point
(1), Birdlover (4) and
Emotional Kitten (6)
 Longshot Pick:
Zenzara (2)