Up With the Birds will make his 5-year-old debut in the Longines Dixie Stakes.

Up With the Birds will make his 5-year-old debut in the Longines Dixie Stakes.

Michael Burns

Up With the Birds Makes 2015 Debut in Dixie

Canadian Horse of the Year in 2013 kicks off season on Preakness undercard.

Sam-Son Farm homebred Up With the Birds, winner of the 2013 Sovereign Awards for top Canadian 3-year-old colt and Canadian Horse of the Year, will make his 5-year-old debut in the $300,000 Longines Dixie Stakes (gr. IIT) May 16 at Pimlico Race Course.

The 1 1/16-mile turf race will be the final appetizer on the Xpressbet.com Preakness Stakes (gr. I) undercard, immediately preceding the second jewel of the Triple Crown as the 12th race on Saturday's card.

After a 3-year-old season in which he won four stakes, including the Jamaica Handicap (gr. IT) at Belmont Park, the son of Stormy Atlantic  went 1-for-6 in 2014, with his only score being the Nijinsky Stakes (Can-II) at Woodbine. He also finished sixth in last year's Dixie, fourth in the Arlington Million (gr. IT), and second in the Knickerbocker (gr. IIIT). Up With the Birds wrapped up his season with a 16th-place finish in the Japan Cup (Jpn-I) in November.

Previously conditioned by Malcolm Pierce, Up With the Birds will make his debut for trainer Graham Motion. Up With the Birds will break from post 11 in the 14-horse field with jockey Drayden Van Dyke, who will be aboard for the first time.

The rest of the field features plenty of talent, with multiple graded winners Skyring, who won the 2013 edition of the Dixie, grade I winner Lochte, and Long On Value. Challengers with a single graded win include Grand Tito, Legendary, and War Correspondent .

War Correspondent, who will break from post 13 with John Velazquez for trainer Christophe Clement, seems to be carrying the most momentum following a neck victory in the March 28 Appleton Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park, where the son of War Front  defeated fellow Dixie entrants Aripeka (second), Grand Tito (third), and Lochte (seventh).

Another horse coming off two straight wins is 5-year-old Talk Show Man, the only Maryland-bred in the field, who is trained by Hamilton Smith and will break from the far outside with jockey Xavier Perez. The son of Great Notion  has won three of his past four races, including scores in the Henry S. Clark Stakes at Pimlico April 18 and the Maryland Million Turf Stakes at Laurel Park Oct. 18. In the only race Talk Show Man didn't win in that stretchthe Richard W. Small Stakes at Laurel Nov. 15the gelding was bumped entering the lane and fell.

Other stakes winners, Tricky Hat and Beyond Smart, will join allowance winners Ironicus  and Cage Fighter, and graded stakes-placed Manchurian High, to complete the field.

Entries: Longines Dixie S. (G2T)

Pimlico Race Course, Saturday, May 16, 2015, Race 12

  • Grade IIT
  • 1 1/16m
  • Turf
  • $300,000
  • 3 yo's & up
  • 5:25 PM (local)
11Grand Tito (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateVictor Espinoza118Gustavo Delgado-
22Ironicus (KY)Javier Castellano118Claude R. McGaughey III-
33Cage Fighter (FL)Joe Bravo118James L. Lawrence, II-
44Aripeka (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJulien R. Leparoux118Eddie Kenneally-
55Tricky Hat (CHI)Trevor McCarthy118Claude R. McGaughey III-
66Skyring (KY)Corey S. Nakatani118D. Wayne Lukas-
77Beyond Smart (PA)Victor R. Carrasco118Jonathan E. Sheppard-
88Lochte (KY)Orlando Bocachica120Marcus J. Vitali-
99Legendary (GB)Edgar S. Prado118Niall Saville-
1010Manchurian High (FL)Gary L. Stevens118Lilli Kurtinecz-
1111Up With the Birds (ON)Drayden Van Dyke118H. Graham Motion-
1212Long On Value (VA)Joel Rosario120William I. Mott-
1313War Correspondent (KY)John R. Velazquez120Christophe Clement-
1414Talk Show Man (MD)Xavier Perez118Hamilton A. Smith-
1515Chamois (KY)UNKNOWN118Christophe Clement-
1616Our Emerald Forest (IRE)Andrew Wolfsont118James M. Day-