Five Stakes, Three Graded, Complement Main Event Friday, May 14
Pimlico Special (G3) Noms Include Multiple G1 Winner Knicks Go
BALTIMORE, MD | May 5th, 2021 – A total of 175 horses were nominated to five stakes, three graded, that help comprise the undercard of the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2) Day program Friday, May 14 at Pimlico Race Course.
In all, six stakes, four graded, worth $1 million purses will be featured on a spectacular 14-race program that serves as a fitting prelude to the 146th Preakness Stakes (G1), the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown, Saturday, May 15.
Heading the supporting stakes is the historic $250,000 Pimlico Special (G3) for 3-year-olds and up traveling the Preakness distance of 1 3/16 miles, which attracted 39 nominees led by Maryland-bred Knicks Go. Trained by reigning Eclipse Award winner Brad Cox, Knicks Go won the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) to cap his 2020 campaign and the $3 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) to open 2021.
Cox also nominated three-time Grade 3 winner Owendale, second to Harpers First Ride in the 2020 Pimlico Special and third in the 2019 Preakness; multiple graded-stakes winner Warrior’s Charge, 1 ¼ lengths behind Owendale when fourth in the Preakness; and 2020 Cornhusker (G3) winner Night Ops.
Laurel Park-based Cordmaker is a multiple stakes winner nominated for the third straight year. He lost the Pimlico Special by two necks in 2019 and was beaten a total of 2 ½ lengths when the race was moved from mid-May to early October amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Pimlico Special was among four stakes that Harpers First Ride won in 2020 for Maryland’s four-time leading trainer Claudio Gonzalez, along with the Deputed Testamony, Richard W. Small and Native Dancer. He was sold prior to a failed bid in the Pegasus World Cup and has since run twice for trainer Robertino Diodoro, finishing fourth in the Essex and third in a 1 ½-mile optional claiming allowance this spring at Oaklawn Park.
Also prominent among Pimlico Special nominees are multiple graded-stakes winner Modernist, most recently first in the April 3 Excelsior (G3); 2020 LeComte (G3) winner Enforceable, seventh in last year’s Kentucky Derby; March 27 Ghostzapper (G3) winner Eye of a Jedi; Feb. 27 Gulfstream Park Mile (G2) winner Fearless; March 6 Challenger (G3) winner Last Judgment; 2020 Withers (G3) winner Max Player, fifth in last year’s Preakness; 2020 Pat Day Mile (G2) winner Rushie; April 10 Ben Ali (G3) winner Silver Dust; and multiple stakes winners Alwaysmining, Clubman, Mr. Buff and Wait for It.
The Pimlico Special’s roster of winners includes Triple Crown champions War Admiral, Whirlaway, Citation and Assault and modern-day Horses of the Year Criminal Type, Cigar, Skip Away, Mineshaft and Invasor. Seabiscuit upset War Admiral in the 1937 Special, in what was termed the ‘Race of the Century’ by Sports Illustrated.
Twenty-nine older females were nominated to the $150,000 Allaire du Pont (G3), a 1 1/8-mile test for fillies and mares 3 and up, led by Grade 1 winners Letruska, Shedaresthedevil and Valiance. St. George Stable homebred Letruska, a champion in Mexico before coming to the U.S., most recently defeated fellow champions Monomoy Girl and 2020 Preakness winner Swiss Skydiver in the April 17 Apple Blossom (G1).
Shedaresthedevil, the 2020 Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner, exits back-to-back front-running graded-stakes victories including the La Troienne (G1) April 30. She is one of five Brad Cox-trained nominees, along with last out Doubledogdare (G3) winner Bonny South, March 27 Latonia winner Dreamalildreamofu, Pippin winner Gedridofwhatailesu, third in the Azeri (G2) and fourth in the Apple Blossom; and May 2 Ruffian (G2) winner Vault. Cox won the 2019 du Pont with Mylady Curlin.
Valiance has not raced since finishing second to Monomoy Girl in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) Nov. 7. Winner of the 2020 Spinster (G1), she is trained by Todd Pletcher, who won the du Pont with Pool Land (2006), Super Espresso (2011) and Stopchargingmaria (2015).
Maryland-based Street Lute, who had a five-stakes win streak snapped last out in the March 13 Beyond the Wire at Laurel Park, heads 28 nominees to the $150,000 Miss Preakness (G3) for 3-year-old fillies sprinting six furlongs. Others include Australasia, undefeated in five starts for Cox; fellow stakes winners Abrogate, Farsighted, Gulf Coast, Miss Brazil and Prodigy Doll; Grade 3-placed Amalfi Princess and Lady Traveler; as well as Decade, Dr B and Vincaia, all riding two-race win streaks.
A pair of grass races round out the stakes action – the $100,000 Hilltop for 3-year-old fillies going one mile and the $100,000 The Very One sprinting five furlongs. Most popular among horsemen with 41 nominations, the Hilltop is led by 2020 Miss Grillo (G2) winner Plum Ali, her stakes-winning Christophe Clement-trained stablemate Bubbles On Ice and Alda and Seasons, respectively second and third in the 2020 Natalma (G1) at Woodbine.
Prominent among nominees for the 22nd The Very One are 2020 Royal North (G2) winner Lady Grace for dual Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse; Las Setas and Never Enough Time, multiple stakes winners on dirt; and stakes winners Caravel, Introduced, Jakarta and Sadie Lady, along with Australian Group 3 winner Victory Kingdom.
Entries will be taken and post positions drawn for the Black-Eyed Susan Day program Sunday, May 9.