Trio of Grade 1 Winners Top $500,000 Dinner Party (G3) Nominations

May 9th, 2024

Among 8 Stakes, 4 Graded, Worth $1.3 Million on Preakness Undercard
Dinner Party Part of $2.5 Million Bonus
$100,000 Gallorette (G3) Winner Gets Berth in G1 Stakes at Deauville
$100,000 Jim McKay Winner Earns Entry to G1 Stakes at Newmarket

BALTIMORE – Grade 1 winners Adhamo, Atone and Highland Chief and five-time graded-stakes winner Emmanuel are among 41 horses nominated to the $500,000 Dinner Party (G3) May 18 at historic Pimlico Race Course.

The 123rd renewal of the 1 1/8-mile Dinner Party for 3-year-olds and up on the grass is among eight stakes, four graded, worth $1.3 million on the undercard of the $2 million Preakness Stakes (G1), Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown, to be run for the 149th time.

Pimlico’s oldest stakes race and the eighth-oldest in the country, the Dinner Party was contested at two miles for its 1870 debut, won by Hall of Famer Preakness. The distance has changed eight times over its history, returning to nine furlongs in 2023 for the first time since 2013.

This year the Dinner Party saw its purse boosted as part of a $2.5 million bonus program funded by 1/ST Racing going to the owner or owners of a winning horse that subsequently sweeps the $750,000 California Crown John Henry (G1) Sept. 28 at Santa Anita and $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) in January 2025 at Gulfstream Park.

Atone set the pace in last year’s Dinner Party before yielding late and finishing fifth, beaten just a length. Winner of the 2023 Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1), the 7-year-old gelding has banked more than $1.4 million in purse earnings and exits a runner-up finish in the Kentucky Cup Classic (G3) over Turfway Park’s all-weather course March 23.

Irish-bred Adhamo earned Grade 1 credentials in the 2022 United Nations at Monmouth Park and is winless in seven subsequent starts including thirds in the Arlington Million (G1) and Canadian International (G1) last summer and fall, and sits just shy of the $1 million earnings mark. Also bred in Ireland, Highland Chief won the Man o’ War (G1) in his second North American start later that year captured the Sycamore (G3). Now 7, he was off for more than a year before finishing fifth in the Elkhorn (G2) April 20 at Keeneland.

Emmanuel finished third by a half-length in last year’s Dinner Party, his lone start at Pimlico. Trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, the 5-year-old owns five career graded-stakes wins, four of them Grade 3, the most recent coming in the March 2 Canadian Turf (G3) at Gulfstream Park.

Kertez, winner of the March 30 Pan American (G2) at Gulfstream Park in his North American debut; fellow Grade 2 winner Royal Ship; and Grade 3 winners Balnikhov, English Bee, Eons and Smokin’ T are also prominent among nominees.

Multiple stakes winners Book ‘em Danno, Sweet Soddy J and Valentine Candy; Grade 2-placed Market Street and Guanare, winner of the Jan. 27 Spectacular Bid at Laurel Park, top 25 nominations to the $200,000 Chick Lang (G3) for 3-year-olds sprinting six furlongs. Valentine Candy is trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, who has won four of the last six runnings of the Chick Lang including last year with Ryvit.

Ryvit is one of 41 nominees to the $100,000 Maryland Sprint (G3) for 3-year-olds and up, also at six furlongs. Others include 12-time winner Coastal Mission; graded-stakes winners Classier, Dean Delivers, Double Crown, Durante, 2022 winner Jaxon Traveler, Prevalence, Skelly and defending champion Straight No Chaser.

The $100,000 Gallorette (G3) for fillies and mares 3 and older scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on the grass, will see its winner earn automatic entry and travel incentive to run in the Prix Jean Romanet (G1) Aug 18 at Deauville. Trainer Chad Brown has won the race five of the last 12 years including back-to-back in 2012-13 and 2022-23 and is represented by four of the 32 nominees – three-time graded-stakes winning millionaire Fluffy Socks, who won the 2020 Selima at Pimlico; English Group 3 winner Midnight Mile; Grade 3-placed Tax Implications and Notinamillionyears.

Other grass stakes are the $100,000 James W. Murphy at one mile for 3-year-olds, which attracted 40 nominees led by Grade 3 winner First World War; and $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint for 3-year-olds and up going five furlongs, where the 46 nominees include Elizabeth Merryman-bred, owned and trained Witty, a multiple stakes winner on both turf and dirt that launched his 5-year-old season with a victory in Laurel’s King T. Leatherbury April 20.

The winner of the Jim McKay Turf Sprint will earn automatic entry and travel incentive to run in the My Pension Export July Cup Stakes (G1) July 13 at Newmarket.

Sophomores will also be in the spotlight in the $100,000 Sir Barton for non-winners of an open sweepstakes going 1 1/16 miles. A total of 31 horses were nominated, among them 2023 Maryland Juvenile winner Circle P; Blue Grass (G1) and Gotham (G3) runner-up Just a Touch; Lat Long, third in the Lecomte (G3) for Kentucky Derby (G1)-winning trainer Ken McPeek; and 2023 Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) and 2024 Illinois Derby runner-up Real Men Violin.

Rounding out the stakes action is the $100,000 Skipat for fillies and mares 3 and up sprinting six furlongs which saw 28 horses nominated including Feb. 17 Barbara Fritchie (G3) winner Apple Picker; fellow stakes winners American Band, Bluefield, Disco Ebo, High Class, Kant Hurry Love, Late Frost and Zeitlos; and three-time graded-stakes placed Dazzling Blue.

Entries will be taken and post positions drawn for all Preakness Day races on Monday, May 13.

About The Stronach Group and 1/ST
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