After nearly going down when bumped by Scrappy T entering the stretch, a gutsy Afleet Alex recovered and went on to win the $1-million Preakness (gr. I) in impressive fashion Saturday at Pimlico.
Cool Conductor finished first in an optional claiming race but was disqualified to third on Kentucky Derby (gr. I) day at Churchill Downs. But on Preakness day,he stepped up and took the $200,000 CompUSA Dixie (gr. IIT), upsetting heavily favored Artie Schiller by a nose in a thrilling stretch duel.
Jerry Bailey took Zakocity wire-to-wire Saturday to win the $100,000 William D. Schaefer Handicap (gr. III) at Pimlico, the race prior to the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
With about 75 minutes to the post for the 130th running of the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), Afleet Alex is the solid 5-2 favorite, with about $750,000 in the win pool.
Pinpoint wanted the lead and Rafael Bejarano made sure he got it, controlling the pace and having plenty left for the stretch run in the $100,000 Sir Barton Stakes Saturday at Pimlico.
Edgar Prado got a great trip and Willy o'the Valley responded, winning her third straight race Saturday in the Emirates Airline Maryland Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Pimlico.
Favored Film Maker, making her first start since finishing second in last year's Breeders' Cup Fillies & Mares Turf (gr. IT), won the $100,000 Gallorette Handicap (gr. IIIT) by a neck Saturday on the Preakness day undercard.
Tim Ritchey and Jeremy Rose, who hope to win the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) with Afleet Alex, won a stakes on the undercard Saturday, taking the $50,000 Murmur Farm Starter Handicap with Testy Guy.
The stakes program got off to a good start Saturday at Pimlico with odds-on choice English Channel blazing home well clear in the $100,000 Woodlawn Stakes for trainer Todd Pletcher and John Velazquez.
What a difference a day makes. On Friday in Baltimore, the morning began with rain, wind, and chilliness. Patrons heading to Pimlico Saturday for the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) awoke to bright, sunny skies and temperatures so pleasant jackets and sweaters were not necessary.
Trainer Todd Pletcher sent out favorites that were defeated in consecutive stakes at Pimlico Friday, but he did not make it three in a row as Spun Sugar easily won the $200,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II).
Ashado, sent off at 2-5 and with only three competitors to beat, went down to defeat at the hands of hometown hope Silmaril in the $107,400 Pimlico Breeders' Cup Distaff Handicap (gr. III) Friday afternoon.
Burnish, who liked the sloppy surface at Keeneland in her last start, also enjoyed the off going Friday at Pimlico, splashing home to win the $100,000 Miss Preakness (gr. III) under Rafael Bejarano.
If the rain stops as predicted Friday afternoon, Pimlico track superintendent Jamie Richardson said he expects the track surface to be fast on Saturday.
Friday's Highlights: Greeley's Galaxy Breezes 3 Furlongs In Quick :34.80; Giacomo Walks Under Tack; Afleet Alex Jogs.
Handicappers aren't the only ones who have questions prior to a race. Trainers do, too.
Nick Zito ran five horses in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) -- including the favorite -- and no one has to remind him they finished seventh, eighth, 10th, 14th, and 15th. But the Preakness (gr. I) is a new day, Zito said Friday morning at Pimlico.
There was only one way Scrappy T would run in the Preakess (gr. I) Saturday at Pimlico...he had to win the April 30 Withers Stakes (gr. III). And, he did.
Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo, who drew Post 13 for the Preakness, got his first look at the Pimlico course in an easy gallop Thursday, the morning after he shipped in from Churchill Downs. Afleet Alex, the 5-2 morning line favorite who will go from Post 12, jogged and galloped Thursday morning.
In the race immediately preceding the Preakness (gr. I) at Pimlico Saturday, eight older horses will contest the $100,000 William Donald Schaefer Handicap (gr. III) over nine furlongs.
Ashado, who missed the Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) on Kentucky Derby day because her trainer was not satisfied with her weight assignment, may run this Friday carrying that same 123 pounds.
Closing Argument, the Successful Appeal colt, who came within a half-length of Kentucky Derby (gr. I) glory, had trainer Kiaran McLaughlin smiling Monday morning after he breezed a half-mile in :49 flat over the main track at Belmont Park in his final preparation for Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
Led by 120-pound highweight Funny Cide, nine older horses have been entered for Friday's $500,000 Pimlico Special (gr. I), the featured stakes on the Pimlico card that precedes Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
Although she is winless in three starts this year, Naveed Chowhan's Runway Model tops the short field of six 3-year-old fillies entered for Friday's Black-Eyed Susan (gr. II) at Pimlico.
The field for the May 21 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) continues to grow, as one horse was reported to be on his way to Baltimore, a second became a surprise supplement to the race, and trainer Nick Zito gave some indication as to which of his horses may still be in play.
With Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Giacomo scheduled to ship to Pimlico on Wednesday, May 18, the field the Holy Bull colt will face in the May 21 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) is taking shape.
NBC Sports' broadcast of Giacomo's surprise win at the 131st running of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) notched an 8.2 overnight rating and 19 share, slightly down from an 8.3 rating in 2001, 2003, and 2004.
Live racing on the Maryland circuit shifts to historic Pimlico Race Course April 20 for the spring meet. The headline event of the eight-week stand is the 130th running of the $1 million Preakness Stakes (gr. I), the middle jewel of the VISA Triple Crown, on May 21.
- By Nick Hahn
Opening day for Colonial Downs' summer meet is expected to move up a week to June 17. Moving up opening day coordinates better with racing dates recently determined for the spring meet at Pimlico in Maryland.
- By Ron Mitchell
Despite reporting increased revenues and decreased losses during 2004 and the fourth quarter of the year, Magna Entertainment was negatively impacted by setbacks in the reconstruction of Laurel Park in Maryland and spending on gaming initiatives and regulatory matters.
The Maryland Racing Commission approved the Pimlico spring stakes schedule at its monthly meeting Feb. 22 at Laurel Park. The headline event of the eight-week meeting beginning April 20 is the 130th running of the May 21 $1 million Preakness Stakes (gr. I), the middle jewel of the Visa Triple Crown.
- By Tom Keyser
For the third straight year, a bill legalizing slot machines in Maryland is headed for the House of Delegates, where it's anyone's guess what will happen next.
- By Tom Keyser
After he received the trophy Jan. 8 as leading owner in Maryland, Michael Gill issued a challenge to the racing world: If he isn't voted outstanding owner for 2004, he'll be even more determined to win the title in 2005.
The Maryland Jockey Club signal will appear on local Comcast systems beginning Jan. 14 as part of a digital sports package involving HorseRacing TV.
North American fans will have a rare opportunity to wager on a pair of Uruguayan group I races from Maronas National Racetrack Thursday.
Cindy Pierson Dulay was selected as the Eclipse Award winner for photography, the The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Jan. 3.
In a letter to the Maryland Racing Commission and Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, the Maryland Jockey Club announced Friday its intention to open Laurel Park for training by early next week, weather permitting.
With the 2004 season winding to a close this weekend, Marylanders will crown champions for both 2-year-old divisions with eight state-bred fillies having been drawn for Thursday's 1 1/16-mile Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship Stakes at Pimilico.
Linda Gaudet's Monster Chaser tops a field of nine in Friday's $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Championship Stakes for 2-year-olds at Pimlico. Jockey Richard Monterrey, who has been aboard Monster Chaser for his last three starts, will guide the bay gelding from post four.
Two group I fixtures from Uruguay's Maroñas National Racetrack will be simulcast into North America on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2005 with Pimlico Race Course serving as the North American wagering hub for the stakes.
Two group 1 fixtures from Uruguay's Maroñas National Racetrack will be simulcast into North America Jan. 6 with Pimlico Race Course serving as the North American wagering hub for the stakes. The highlight of the South American stakes is the group 1 Gran Premio Jose Pedro Ramirez, a 1 1/2-mile race that traditionally attracts some of the best horses from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay.
Inclement weather led to cancellation of live racing Monday at Pimlico and Thistledown racetracks.
Add jockey Ryan Fogelsonger to the list of reality television stars. A crew from MTV arrived at Pimlico Race Course Friday afternoon to spend the weekend with the 23-year old rider for the documentary series "True Life: I Want The Perfect Body II".
A dozen out-of-town trainers from New England and Delaware have relocated to Maryland for the winter bringing 120 more horses to Pimlico, Laurel Park and the Bowie Training Center.
Racing won't return to Laurel Park until after the new year as workers rebuilding the racing surfaces have encountered weather delays and continue to address foundation problems.
Ramon Dominguez celebrated his 28th birthday Wednesday at Pimlico with a riding triple on the day's eight race card. Since returning to Maryland on a full-time basis on Nov. 10, Dominguez has 18 wins in 11 days, producing six multiple win afternoons.
A couple of heavy hitters from the New York area have shipped to Pimlico in an attempt to annex the $100,000 Laurel Futurity (gr. III) Saturday.
Mario Pino, the 16th leading rider in the history of the racing, broke his right collarbone Thursday at Pimlico after his mount Look At Her fell nearing the sixteenth marker in the second race.
Frank Deford, one of the most honored sportswriters in the country, was at Pimlico Race Course Wednesday, shooting part of an ESPN documentary about the Baltimore native's life and work.
Wagering during the Maryland Million at Pimlico totaled $6.5 million Saturday, just off the day's record of $6.6 million, according to figures released by Maryland Jockey Club Sunday.
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