The comeback for millionaire Life At Ten continues May 21 when the daughter of Malibu Moon tops a seven-horse field in the Allaire DuPont Distaff (gr. III) on the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) undercard at Pimlico. The 1 1/16-mile test for fillies and mares is the fourth race on the stakes-heavy card.
Trained by Todd Pletcher for Candy DeBartolo, Life At Ten will be making her second start of the year, having finished second at 3-10 odds in an allowance/optional claimer at Gulfstream Park on April 10. That race was the first for the 6-year-old mare since her inexplicable performance in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies' Classic (gr. I) at Churchill Downs last Nov. 5.
Previous to the Ladies' Classic, jockey John Velazquez told ESPN analyst and retired jockey Jerry Bailey that Life At Ten was not warming up as usual; however, that information was not relayed to the state veterinarians and the mare was allowed to run. During the race, Velazquez never pressured Life At Ten and she lost contact with the field, finishing a well-beaten last in the 11-horse field.
Pletcher said later that the mare apparently had an allergic reaction to anti-bleeder medication she was administered prior to the race.
The circumstances surrounding Life At Ten’s participation and performance resulted in an extensive investigation by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. The probe found no intentional wrongdoing but a series of errors in judgment by some involved in the incident. Velazquez paid a fine and disciplinary action has been initiated against chief state steward John Veitch.
Velazquez will be aboard again as Life At Ten breaks from the four hole in search of her ninth win. In 18 starts, the mare has also finished second six times, third twice, and earned $1,161,015.
Returning to Pimlico for the DuPont is Payton d'Oro, a daughter of Medaglia d'Oro who won the Black-Eyed Susan (gr. II) at the Maryland oval a year ago. Trained by Larry Jones for Mike Presley and Edward D. Taylor, the 5-year-old mare has won the Remington Park Oaks and Oaklawn Park’s Bayakoa Stakes in seven outings since her Black-Eyed Susan score last year.
Two multiple stakes winners set to go forward in the DuPont are Baltimore Belle and Decelerator. Baltimore Belle, a Maryland-bred daughter of Bowman's Band trained by Michael Trombetta for R. Larry Johnson, won the 2010 edition of the Maryland Million Oaks and most recently took the Dahlia Stakes at Pimlico. Decelerator, trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas for Westrock Stables, is a 4-year-old Dehere filly coming off a sixth-place effort in the Vinery Madison (gr. I) at Keeneland. The filly has won five of 18 starts, with five placings and earnings of $347,384.
Pletcher will also be represented in the race by Super Espresso, another daughter of Medaglia d’Oro who won the Sky Beauty Stakes at Aqueduct during a three-race win streak that also included a maiden and an allowance.
Allaire DuPont Distaff Stakes (gr. III), Pimlico, $100,000, 1 1/16 miles, fillies and mares 3&up, race 4, approximate post 12:16 p.m.
1—Lily Quatorze, 118, C. Ho
2—Payton d’Oro, 118, G. Saez
3—Decelerator, 118, J. K. Court
4—Life At Ten, 118, J. Velazquez
5—Baltimore Belle, 118, J. Pimental
6—Check Point, 118, G. K. Gomez
7—Super Espresso, 118, R. A. Dominguez