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.
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
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