Buffalo Man, Shakis Vie in Dixie Stakes

Buffalo Man, Shakis Vie in Dixie Stakes
Photo: Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO
Buffalo Man is the only runner in the Dixie's nine-horse field to carry more than 118 pounds.
The top-weighted runner in the $250,000 Dixie Stakes (gr. IIT) at Pimlico May 17 is coming off a sixth-place finish, while his closest competitor also ran sixth in his last start. That leaves a chance at graded earnings readily available to seven other runners in the 1 1/8-mile turf event on the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) undercard.
Old Memorial Stable and C.E. Glasscock’s Buffalo Man is the only runner in the Dixie’s nine-horse field to carry more than 118 pounds. The 4-year-old El Prado colt gets 122 due to his Jan 27 score in Gulfstream’s Appleton Handicap (gr. IIIT), but his last effort was sixth by 3 ½ lengths in a blanket finish April 12 in Keeneland’s Commonwealth Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. II).

The Cam Gambolati trainee could have disliked the synthetic surface or the seven furlongs of the Commonwealth, so returning to turf should bode well for him. But the 1 1/8-mile distance of the Dixie Stakes raises questions as well – his only attempt at that distance resulted in a seventh-place finish in the Discovery Handicap (gr. III) last fall. Still, the colt has a string of consecutive wins on his record that includes the OBS Sales Championship Stakes (1 1/16 miles), the Spectacular Bid Stakes (six furlongs), and the Storm Cat Stakes (8.32 furlongs) at the beginning of last year, so if he steps back up to that level he could get the job done.

Shadwell Stable’s Shakis is four years older than Buffalo Man, but the 8-year-old Machiavellian runner could prove dangerous – especially considering his lesser weight of 118. True, the Kiaran McLaughlin trainee was sixth in the April 11 Makers Mark Mike (gr. IT) in his last start, losing by 5 ¼ lengths, but he is a grade II winner whose prior five starts in grade I and grade II races resulted in a win, two thirds, and a fourth. The grade II score was his last win, when he took the Bernard Baruch Handicap (gr. II) at Saratoga last summer. He has been lightly-raced since then, running third in the Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT) at Keeneland and then sixth in the Makers Mark Mile.
Centaur Farms’ Distorted Reality, a son of Distorted Humor   trained by Todd Pletcher, and Phipps Stable’s Pick Six, a Dynaformercolt trained by Shug McGaughey, both could step up in this event.
Distorted Reality comes off a one-length win in an April 18 turf allowance at Aqueduct. Last summer this colt was knocking at the door in graded stakes events such as Belmont’s Hill Prince Stakes (gr. IIIT) and Saratoga’s National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (gr. IIT) and Saranac Stakes (gr. IIIT). Between those efforts he won the Lexington Stakes at Belmont, going 1 1/8 miles on the turf.

Pick Six was second by a half length in an April 12 turf allowance at Keeneland, in which he bobbled at the start.  

$250,000 Dixie Stakes (gr. IIT, Race 10, approximate post 4:25 p.m.), 1 1/8 miles for 3-year-olds and upward, turf
PP, Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Headsandtales, 118, Jonathan Joyce
2. Distorted Reality, 118, John Velazquez
3. Buffalo Man, 122, Edgar Prado
4. Shakis, 118, Alan Garcia
5. Pays to Dream, 118, Javier Castellano
6. Stay Close, 118, A. Napravnik
7. Ra Der Dean, 118, Horacio Karamanos
8. Salinja, 118, Gabriel Saez
9. Pick Six, 118, Rider TBA

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