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PREAKNESS MEET AT PIMLICO NOTES

Multiple Graded Winner Rated R Superstar Headed to Pimlico Special (G3)

Turf Champion World Approval May Return for Title Defense in Dixie (G2)

Something Awesome Goes for Fourth Straight Win in Pimlico Special

BALTIMORE – Radar Racing’s multiple graded-stakes winner Rated R Superstar will make his 25th career start and fifth of 2018 in the historic $300,000 Pimlico Special (G3) Friday, May 18 at legendary Pimlico Race Course.

“Definitely,” trainer Ken McPeek said. “He’s coming.”           

Rated R Superstar, a gelded 5-year-old son of multiple Grade 1-winning sprinter Kodiak Cowboy, is exiting the 1 1/8-mile Ben Ali (G3) April 14 at Keeneland where he trailed the field for six furlongs before circling horses approaching the stretch and powering down the lane for a two-length victory under Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano.

“He’s a horse that’s a little particular but Javier really got his number right away,” McPeek said. “The horse doesn’t like to be hit and worked on a lot, and he runs [without] Lasix. He’s really in form right now and the last race was as good as it gets out of him.”

Approaching $500,000 in purse earnings, Rated R Superstar has raced at 11 different tracks and several distances over his career. The Special will mark his Pimlico debut but won’t be his first time in Maryland, having finished third in the seven-furlong City of Laurel Stakes in 2016.

 “We tinkered with him a lot. He sprinted as a 2-year-old, then he routed, then he came back to sprinting as an early 3-year-old because we thought his pedigree fit sprinting,” McPeek said. “As an older horse he’s come back to routing and he just needs to stick to the route game.”

 The Special, whose roster of winners includes Triple Crown champions Whirlaway, Citation and Assault and modern-day Horses of the Year Criminal Type, Cigar, Skip Away, Mineshaft and Invasor, is run at 1 3/16 miles – the same distance as the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes (G1), Saturday, May 19.

“We like the distance,” McPeek said. “He needs that distance. He’s got the run figured out, he just needs extra ground and hopefully get some pace to run at.”

McPeek said Rated R Superstar will ship to Baltimore a few days out from the race.

TURF CHAMPION WORLD APPROVAL MAY RETURN FOR TITLE DEFENSE IN DIXIE (G2)

World Approval, Live Oak Plantation’s 2017 male turf champion and Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) winner, is termed “more than likely” to run in the $250,000 Dixie Stakes (G2) at 1 1/16 miles on turf on the Preakness Stakes undercard, trainer Mark Casse said in a text Tuesday.

 The now 6-year-old gelded son of Northern Afleet won last year’s Dixie en route to capturing the Eclipse Award as North America’s outstanding male grass horse.

World Approval worked five-eighths of a mile in 1:00 2/5 seconds Monday at Churchill Downs in company with 4-year-old gelding Casses Story. It was the eighth-fastest of 23 works at the distance that day.

“He worked very well; we were really happy with the way he did it,” Nick Tomlinson, the assistant trainer who oversees Casse’s Churchill division, said. “It was one of his better works, for sure. As long as he comes out of it well, we’ll probably work him back again Sunday and then we’ll start thinking about getting to Maryland for the Dixie.”

World Approval won five of six starts last year, taking his last three starts in the Fourstardave (G1) at Saratoga, Woodbine Mile (G1) in Canada and Breeders’ Cup Mile on turf at Del Mar. He started his 2018 season Feb. 10 by winning the Tampa Bay Stakes (G3) but was fifth by four lengths as the 1-2 favorite in Santa Anita’s Frank Kilroe Mile (G1) March 10, his most recent effort.

“We don’t know exactly what, [but] he just wasn’t himself for a little bit,” Tomlinson said. “Now he seems to be getting back to the World Approval we know. They’re horses; they’re just like people. Sometimes we all have our good days and bad days. He was just having a moment, and now he seems to be getting back to himself, which we’re very excited about. We all love him to death and want the best for him.”

The popular gray has won 12 of 26 starts, with two seconds and four thirds while earning $3,060,363 for his career.

“It all kind of started for him last year in the Dixie,” Tomlinson said. “Hopefully he can come back and repeat and hope for a very exciting summer and fall for him.”

This year marks the 117th running of the Dixie, Pimlico’s oldest stakes race first won by the horse Preakness in 1870. Previous champions to win the Dixie include Whirlaway (1942), Armed (1946), St. Vincent (1955), Fort Marcy (1970), Sky Classic (1992) and Paradise Creek (1994).

SOMETHING AWESOME GOES FOR FOURTH STRAIGHT WIN IN PIMLICO SPECIAL

Stronach Stables’ homebred gelding Something Awesome can earn his fourth straight victory, all in stakes, and third career graded score when he returns to Maryland for the Pimlico Special.

Trainer Jose Corrales plans to breeze the 7-year-old son of multiple Grade 1 winner Awesome Again Saturday morning at Laurel Park, where he is based. It will be Something Awesome’s first work since his hard-fought win in the Charles Town Classic (G2) April 21.

“He’s doing well. He came back good and the horse looks like he just likes to run,” Corrales said. “He came back and ate up everything and was ready to go the next day.”

Something Awesome has won five of six starts since joining Corrales’ barn, taking a pair of optional claiming allowances last fall at Laurel. He began this year running third in the six-furlong Fire Plug Stakes Jan. 20, then reeled off wins in the seven-furlong General George (G3), Harrison E. Johnson and Charles Town Classic, the latter two at 1 1/8 miles.

“He’s ready for that. We were thinking to run him in the Pimlico Special and hoped he would perform as well as he has done,” Corrales said. “We’re just going to train him pretty much the same. He’s not a horse that changes too much. You just have to do the same thing. If he can keep his fitness and the track is right for him that day he will perform good.”

About Pimlico Race Course

Legendary Pimlico Race Course, home of the Preakness® Stakes, the Middle Jewel in horse racing’s famed Triple Crown, first opened its doors on October 25, 1870, and is the second oldest racetrack in the United States. Pimlico has played host to racing icons and Baltimoreans have seen the likes of legendary horses such as Man o’ War, Seabiscuit, Secretariat, Affirmed, American Pharoah and Cigar thunder down the stretch in thrilling and memorable competition. For more information on Pimlico, visit www.pimlico.com.

The Stronach Group is North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, home of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida and is one of North America’s top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world’s largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is also a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry. For more information contact David Joseph at david.joseph@marylandracing.com or call 954.658.7156.