The $250,000 Maryland Lottery Pimlico Special (G1) is the first of two Grade 1 stakes events on Preakness weekend at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, contested before a crowd of just 18,407 due to the wet weather on Friday May 16. This 1 3/16 mile trip over the muddy main track featured a field of just seven older horses, after both A.P. Arrow and Wanderin Boy were scratched. Grasshopper was sent off as the lukewarm 2-1 favorite off of consecutive runner-up finishes in the New Orleans Handicap at the Fair Grounds in March followed by the Westchester at Aqueduct in April. In to challenge him were 5-2 second choice Gottcha Gold, winner of the Skip Away Handicap at Gulfstream Park in March, and 4-1 third choice Sir Whimsey, third in the Ben Ali at Keeneland after winning the Gulfstream Park Handicap in March.
Student Council (outside) and Gottcha Gold battle down the stretch.
Gottcha Gold went to the lead immediately under jockey Chuck Lopez, and he set a quick pace of 23.87, 47.46, and 1:11.39 over the muddy, sealed track, while as many as 1 1/2 lengths clear of the field. 12-1 Xchanger stalked the pace in second. Entering the stretch, Lopez asked Gottcha Gold to open up and he did, pulling away to a 2 1/2 length advantage at the 1/8 pole after a mile in 1:36.17. However, 7-1 Student Council, rated at the back of the field early on, came out five wide into the stretch and closed with a rush, passing the field and wearing down pacesetter Gottcha Gold inside the 70 yard pole to prevail by a neck in 1:54.87. It was a long 5 3/4 lengths back to Sir Whimsey in third. Favorite Grasshopper was wide throughout, settling in 4th down the backstretch, but showed no rally in the stretch to finish fifth.
Left: Student Council in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Shaun Bridgmohan said, "There looked like there'd be a lot of speed in there. He's such a great horse and he's got such a great stride to him that midway down the backside he grabbed a hold of me and wanted to go. At that point, I had nowhere for him to go. I had to sit there and wait and bide my time and wait a little bit longer. I've been watching races all day. I didn't want to take him out of his game."
Right: Student Council in the post parade.
Left: Owner Ro Parra holds up the Pimlico Special trophy. Parra said, "We took him to Japan (for the Japan Cup Dirt) and in hindsight, I wish we hadn't. When he came back he was tired. We were disappointed in the Santa Anita Handicap. We thought we were going to win the race. Steve (Asmussen, trainer) had him ready for this race. I spoke to him just an hour before the race, and he told me to smile in the winner's circle."
Right: Student Council in the grass behind the stakes barn later in the day.
Second place finisher Gottcha Gold in the post parade. His trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. said, "I was hoping he would be able to get there, but by the time we got near the wire, it was too late. I was very satisfied with his race and Chuckie did a great job again."
His jockey Chuck Lopez said, "The horse ran his race I think. I was able to slow him down and give him the opportunity. I mean, the winner just came and got him."
Third place finisher Sir Whimsey comes out of the paddock before the race. His trainer James Toner said, "He ran well. He tried hard and did everything right, but Edgar said he wasn't comfortable with the track. He tries hard, this horse. He gives you everything he's got."
His jockey Edgar Prado said, "He wasn't handling the track too well. He had a little trouble in the first part. He was trying, but in the second turn, two horses stopped in front of me, so I had to go around them. I think he could have been a lot closer, but we lost ground and momentum."
Fifth place finisher and beaten favorite Grasshopper lives up to his name in the post parade. His trainer Neil Howard said, "I don't think the track was a problem. I think he handled it OK. It just wasn't his day today. He'll come back and run like he can."
His jockey Robby Albarado said, "I have no excuse. I had a good trip and good spot. He just wasn't good enough today. That wasn't the real Grasshopper."
Oxbow upsets in the Preakness - Oxbow led the entire way in the Preakness Stakes (G1) on Saturday at Pimlico with Itsmyluckyday second and Mylute third. Heavy favorite Orb made a mild move to finish fourth. Get the results, charts, and photos here.
Preakness undercard stakes results - There were 7 other stakes on the card, highlighted by the Dixie Stakes (G2) won by Skyring and the Allaire DuPont Distaff Stakes (G3) won by Summer Applause. Get the results, charts, and photos for 6 of the races here.
Fiftyshadesofhay wins the Black-Eyed Susan - Fiftyshadesofhay just got up to win the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) on Friday at Pimlico by a neck over Marathon Lady with favorite Emollient 6th. On the undercard, Last Gunfighter won the Pimlico Special (G3). Get the results, charts, and photos here.
Analyzing the Preakness Stakes Contenders for 2013 - My annual analysis using popular angles and statistical trends to see who best matches the profile of a Preakness winner. The big surprise is that Kentucky Derby winner Orb is not in the top group!
Orb wins the Kentucky Derby - Orb was far back early but took the lead in the stretch and drew off to win the Kentucky Derby (G1) by 2 1/2 lengths over longshot Golden Soul and Revolutionary. Get the results, charts, and photos here.
More Kentucky Derby Photos - More photos from the day including more of Orb, the trophy, the roses, Martina McBride, and lots of mud.
Kentucky Derby undercard stakes results - There were 5 other stakes on Derby day including the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) won by 2012 Horse of the Year Wise Dan and the Humana Distaff Stakes (G1) won by Aubby K. Get the results, charts, and photos for all 5 races here.
Princess of Sylmar upsets in the Kentucky Oaks - She rallied from far back to win the Kentucky Oaks by a half length over Beholder and Unlimited Budget, while favorite Dreaming of Julia was fourth. Get the results, chart, and photos here.
Kentucky Oaks undercard stakes results - There were 5 other stakes on Oaks day including the La Troienne Stakes (G2) won by Authenticity and the Alysheba Stakes (G3) won by Take Charge Indy. Get the results, charts, and photos for all 5 races here.
Kentucky Oaks Entries - A field of 11 fillies will go, with Gulfstream Oaks winner Dreaming of Julia favorite at 3-1 from post 8. Get the post positions, odds, and free past performances here.
Top Kentucky Derby Contenders - my list of the top horses headed to the Derby with profiles for each with photos, stats, and link to more info like past performances and pedigree.
Analyzing the top 2013 Kentucky Derby contenders - My annual analysis of the top contenders to try and select a winner by matching each to the profile of a Kentucky Derby winner using many of the more popular angles and statistical trends. This year there were is a 3-way tie for the top spot: Goldencents, Normandy Invasion, and Overanalyze.
2013 Kentucky Derby And Oaks Security - New enhanced stricter rules will be enforced this year. Be sure to read the rules as many have changed and more things are banned. There will still be magnetic wand searches of all patrons and many things are no longer allowed. Check here to make sure you don't bring anything they will confiscate.
Review: Triple Crown Handicapper 2013 - by Jim Mazur. Includes lots of stats for all 3 races and explains how to use a system of statistically derived negative angles to eliminate the "bad" picks.
Review: Kentucky Derby Greatest Moments - Commemorative DVD from Churchill Downs with video from 27 different runnings along with interviews, photos, and historical info. Definitely recommended for any racing fan!
Review: Churchill Downs - America's Most Historic Racetrack by Kimberly Gatto. An entertaining and informative account of the history of the track and it's most famous race, the Kentucky Derby, with lots of photos. Definitely recommended.