Nine Stakes, Five Graded, Support Middle Jewel of Triple Crown
Trainer Maker has Five of 26 Nominees to 120th Dinner Party (G2)
Sophomores in Spotlight in Chick Lang (G3), Sir Barton, James Murphy
BALTIMORE, MD | May 6th, 2021 – A total of 244 nominations were made to nine stakes, five graded, worth $1.25 million in purses that help support the 146th running of the Preakness Stakes (G1), the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown, Saturday, May 15 at Pimlico Race Course.
The $1 million Preakness will go off as Race 13 on a spectacular 14-race program that begins at 10:30 a.m. EST and concludes with the UAE President Cup (G1) for Arabian horses. Preakness post time is scheduled for 6:47 p.m. EST.
Pimlico’s oldest stakes race and the eighth-oldest nationwide, having debuted in 1870, the $250,000 Dinner Party (G2) at 1 1/16 miles on the grass had 26 older horses nominated for its 120th running including Grade 2 winner Somelikeithotbrown, runner-up in 2020 when the race was among those moved from mid-May to early October amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Somelikeithotbrown is one of five nominees trained by Mike Maker, seeking his first Dinner Party triumph. The others are stakes winner Bodecream, twice graded-stakes placed; Chocolate Bar, a troubled ninth in the one-mile James Murphy last fall on Preakness Day; stakes-placed Dynadrive and three-time Grade 3 winner Field Pass.
Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey has won the Dinner Party four times, with 2013 Hall of Famer Lure (1993), Parading (2009), Ironicus (2015) and Fire Away (2018). He is represented by nominee Dreams of Tomorrow, a Phipps Stable homebred that ran third by 1 ¼ lengths in the April 24 Henry S. Clark at Pimlico behind fellow nominees Corelli and Pixelate. Corelli is trained by Jonathan Thomas, winner of the 2019 Dinner Party with Grade 1 winner Catholic Boy, while Pixelate won the 2020 Del Mar Derby (G2).
Decorated Invader, nominated by trainer Christophe Clement, became a Grade 1 winner in the 2019 Summer at Woodbine and has gone on to win three more stakes, including the Pennine Ridge (G2) and Hall of Fame (G2) last summer. The 4-year-old Declaration of War colt most recently ran third in the April 10 Danger’s Hour at Aqueduct.
Other prominent Dinner Party nominees include Channel Cat, a Grade 2 winner of nearly $1 million in purse earnings; 2020 Saranac (G3) winner Bye Bye Melvin, beaten a nose in last fall’s James Murphy, and Graham Motion-trained stablemate English Bee, the 2019 Virginia Derby (G3) winner; Sacred Life, third last out in the Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) April 9 at Keeneland; and stakes winner Real Story, fourth by less than a length in the 2019 Dinner Party.
The filly and mare companion to the Dinner Party is the $150,000 Gallorette (G3) for females 3 and up, also at 1 1/16 miles, which attracted 28 nominations. Six come from the barn of four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown, a three-time Gallorette winner (2012, 2013, 2015). His nominees include French Group 3-placed Flighty Lady; Great Island, winner of an off-the-turf Suwannee River Feb. 6 at Gulfstream Park; Regal Glory, a two-time graded-stakes winner in summer 2019 at Saratoga; and Tamahere, second in the Jenny Wiley (G1) April 10.
Evil Lyn, winner of the one-mile Hilltop on Preakness Day 2020; three-time graded-stakes winner Mean Mary; March 6 Hillsborough (G2) winner Micheline; and 2020 Valley View (G3) winner Stunning Sky are also nominated.
Named champion sprinter of 2020, multiple Grade 1 winner Whitmore tops 34 nominations to the $150,000 Maryland Sprint (G3) for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs, which returns to the Maryland stakes calendar after missing 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Among other nominees are 2020 Frank J. De Francis Memorial (G3) winner and two-time Maryland-bred champion Laki; March 6 Tom Fool (G3) winner Chateau; 2020 Polynesian winner Eastern Bay; 2019 Phoenix (G2) winner Engage; 2018 Swale (G2) winner Strike Power; and Whereshetoldmetogo, who had a three-stakes win streak snapped after clipping heels and being eased in the April 24 Frank Y. Whiteley at Pimlico.
Rounding out the undercard’s graded-stakes action is the $200,000 Chick Lang (G3) for 3-year-olds sprinting six furlongs. Its 27 nominees include Feb. 6 Sam F. Davis (G3) winner Candy Man Rocket; multiple stakes winner Jaxon Traveler, an impressive debut winner last fall at Pimlico; stakes winners Foreman, Good With People, Privet Moon, Shackled Love, Waist Deep and Willy Boi.
Sophomores are also in the spotlight in the $100,000 Sir Barton for non-winners of a sweepstakes, contested at 1 1/16 miles. Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who figures to have a pair of major Preakness contenders in Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Medina Spirit and Rebel (G2) winner Concert Tour, won the Sir Barton in 2015, 2015 and 2018. He has three of the 28 nominees – Defunded, fourth in back-to-back graded stakes; Rebel runner-up Hozier; and Triple Tap, a 4 ¼-length maiden special weight winner March 13 at Santa Anita in his lone start.
Also nominated are Excellorator, disqualified from first to second in the April 24 Federico Tesio April 24 at Pimlico; Proxy, second behind Mandaloun and Midnight Bourbon in successive graded-stakes over the winter at Fair Grounds; Royal Number, third in the Tesio; Lexington (G3) show finisher Starrininmydreams; Tarantino, second to Greatest Honour in the Holy Bull (G3) Jan. 30 at Gulfstream Park; Ram and Unbridled Honor, the latter two also under Preakness consideration.
Eleven-time stakes winner Anna’s Bandit is nominated to make her first start in 10 months in the $100,000 Runhappy Skipat, a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares 3 and up. Fellow nominees include multiple graded-stakes winner Frank’s Rockette; Feb. 20 Runhappy Barbara Fritchie (G3) winner Hibiscus Punch; stakes winner Chub Wagon, undefeated in five starts; multiple stakes winners Dontletsweetfoolya and Hello Beautiful; defending champion Never Enough Time; and Grade 3-placed Cinnabunny and Club Car.
Most popular among horsemen was the $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint, a five-furlong dash for 3-year-olds and up whose 35 nominations include 16 stakes winners, among them Grade 3 winners Chapalu, Imprimis and Kanthaka as well as Hollis and Completed Pass, respectively first and second, separated by a neck, in the race last fall.
Completing the stakes action is the $100,000 James W. Murphy for 3-year-olds at one mile on the grass with 25 nominees led by multiple stakes winner Outadore, third in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1); Wesley Ward-trained stablemate and 2020 Futurity (G3) runner-up After Five; and Jan. 30 Kitten’s Joy (G3) show finisher Original.
Entries will be taken and post positions drawn for the Preakness Day program Monday, May 10.