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Jockey Julien Leparoux celebrates aboard World Approval after winning the Dixie Stakes on the 2017 Preakness undercard.
The record 140,327 in attendance at Pimlico for the Preakness Stakes (G1) were treated to a marathon 14-race card with the first race off at 10:30am. Conditions were less than ideal, after heavy overnight rains soaked the main track to muddy at the start of the card (upgraded to good in time for the Chick Lang Stakes) and the turf course to good, with temperatures in the mid 60's under dark overcast skies.
A field of 10 older horses went 1 1/16 miles on the turf in the $250,000 Longines Dixie Stakes (G2). Florida Cup Turf Classic winner World Approval was sent off as the 5-2 favorite over 7-2 Projected, 4th im the Canadian Turf (G3), and 15-4 Ring Weekend, 4th in the Frank Kilroe Mile (G1).
Jockey Florent Geroux sent 17-1 Security Risk to the lead first time by through fractions of 24/12. 49.43, 1:13.94 while pressed by World Approval and stalked by 33-1 One Mean Man and Projected. On the far turn jockey Julien Leparoux sent World Approval to the front through 1 mile in 1:37.28. Kept to task by Leparoux, World Approval drew off to win by 2 1/4 lengths in 1:43.15 over the good turf course. It was another 2 1/4 lengths back to 4-1 Blacktype third.
Full results chart from DRF
Left: World Approval in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Mark Casse said, "He's really good right now, this horse. His last couple of works were crazy. It's funny, this winter he struggled along, but then he really came around."
Right: World Approval heads back to the barn. Winning jockey Julien Leparoux said, "I was very comfortable, very relaxed laying second. He's a nice horse. We went slow to the half, he was doing it very easy, and he kicked very nice at the end. He's a nice horse and we got the perfect trip today, the ideal trip anyway. The track was good for him and there was not too much speed in the race, so the plan was to be right up there and relax. At the 3/8, he started grabbing the bit. He was really good last year. Maybe one of two races weren't that good, but he won a Grade 1 last year. This year I think he's the same or better, and we'll have a good year with him."
No Mo Dough in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Jose Ortiz said, "He broke great today. The last couple times he broke kind of slow. He put me in a good position. He was relaxed where he was and when I asked him to run at the 3/8 pole I felt like I had plenty of horse. He's still a little green, but he's a nice horse." Trainer Graham Motion added, "Jose told me the other day at Churchill the horse didn't even know what he was doing, and he still won. He just came out of the race so well. To come back in three weeks (for the Belmont Stakes) would be a lot. I want to look after him now. He's a really cool horse."
Cambodia in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Florent Geroux said, "She was very sharp from the gate. We in a great spot just off the horse on the lead. I kept her relaxed and turning for home she responded very well." Trainer Tom Proctor added, "From where she was at, I'd have been disappointed if she got beat. I had a perfect go, slow pace. It was nice to have it work out."
Whitmore in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Ron Moquett said, "I'm happy we came over (from Churchill Downs). I said that it was going to take a track record to win this, but that was before the rain yesterday. I know he's a fast horse and he's running against very fast horses. I've got a lot of confidence in Ricardo. I told him that he was on the best horse and ride him with confidence. I know how he finishes. He closes like a freight train. Our goal is the Breeders' Cup Sprint."
Everything Lovely in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Kate Demasi said, "This is big for us, just for her future as a broodmare and knocking on the door against a lot of nice fillies. I just told Javier to break good. I thought she had the most natural speed in here. It's real special. This is really big for me. I've always loved coming here." Jockey Javier Castellano added, "I loved the way she did it. She is a pretty sharp filly. I got a great spot, I knew there was a lot of speed outside me and I took advantage of being on the inside and took the lead. It was a good pace for her. She just galloped along. She can go in 21 and she rated beautifully and I think that was the key to the race."
Recruiting Ready in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Horacio DePaz said, "The horse does best when he's on the lead. We kind of let him free run a little bit. If you take too much hold of him, he really isn't going to settle. He's a strong horse. I was surprised those other horses went with him, but I was comfortable with where he was at the whole way around. He settles a little bit and he's making that run at the end. He's also been campaigned pretty hard, so I want to take care of him and maybe focus on Saratoga or something." Jockey Horacio Karamanos added, "He gave me a nice kick at the top of the stretch and was very strong today. He's a really good horse who ran against some of the best in the country last year. We are 3-for-3 together, so I think we're a good match."
Yoshida in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Bill Mott said, "That was very impressive. He rolled home an easy winner, it looks like. He had his ears pricked and doing it the right way." Jockey Joel Rosario added, "I thought I was going to be closer. He was very happy where he was. I just let him do his thing, and then he put in a very nice run at the end. He's a very nice horse."
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