Even though the weights won't be released until Friday, a field of nine is probable for the Pimlico Special (gr. I). Returning after a year's hiatus, Maryland's premier race for older horses will be run on Friday, May 16, the day before the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) and on the same card as the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies.
According to stakes coordinator David Rollinson, the $600,000-guaranteed Special is likely to bring together Balto Star, Colonial Colony, Hero's Tribute, Night Patrol, Mineshaft, Pleasantly Perfect, Snake Mountain, Total Impact, and Western Pride. Possibles include Aeneas, El Gran Papa, Puzzlement, Windsor Castle, and Woodmoon. Entries will be taken Sunday for the 1 3/16-mile race.
Rollinson said the earlier announcement that the Massachusetts Handicap (gr. II) will not be run this year at Suffolk Downs has helped swell the ranks of older horses likely headed for Old Hilltop.
Anstu Stables' homebred Balto Star was second in his last effort, the Excelsior Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct on April 5. Earlier this year, the Glitterman gelding won the Whirlaway Handicap (gr. III) at Fair Grounds for trainer Todd Pletcher.
Hero's Tribute would be making his first start since a four-length romp in the Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II) on March 29. The John Oxley-owned son of Sea Hero was second to Harlan's Holiday in the Donn Handicap (gr. I) in his previous start.
Mineshaft has won five of six starts since returning to the U.S. after starting his racing career in Europe. A homebred racing for William S. Farish, James Elkins, and W. Temple Webber, Mineshaft won the April 25 Ben Ali Handicap (gr. III) at Keeneland by nine lengths for trainer Neil Howard. The 4-year-old is a son of A.P. Indy, as is Snake Mountain, who races for Berkshire Stud, et al. Snake Mountain, trained by James Jerkens, was fourth in the Excelsior, but earlier in the year won the Aqueduct (gr. III) and Stymie Handicaps in New York.
Pleasantly Perfect has not run since finishing fourth in the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) for Diamond A Racing and trainer Dick Mandella. Last year, the 5-year-old son of Pleasant Colony won the Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II).
The James Chapman-trained Western Pride was a neck winner of the San Bernardino Handicap (gr. III) in his last attempt. The 5-year-old son of Way West is owned by Carolyn Chapman and Theresa McArthur. The San Bernardino was his first start since finishing 11th of 15 in last May's Singapore Airlines Cup and ninth in last April's Dubai World Cup (UAE-I).