Eddington Gets Pace He Needs In Pimlico Special

There was plenty of speed for Eddington to run at this time. The son of Unbridled bided his time behind the pace and blew by down the stretch to win the $500,000 Pimlico Special Handicap (gr. I) Friday by 5 1/4 lengths.

It was the first grade I win for Eddington, in which an interest for stud duty was recently purchased by the Hancock family's Claiborne Farm. Unbridled stood at Claiborne prior to his premature death.

Eddington was previously a grade II winner who now has helped his future stallion prospects by winning a grade I race. He is out of the Chief's Crown mare Fashion Star and races for Willmott Stables. The 4-year-old colt was bred in Kentucky by Carl Rosen Associates.

Eddington, trained by Mark Hennig, had won two of four previous starts this year including the Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II) March 5. In the Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II) April 9, the field went six furlongs in 1:13 1/5, and Eddington couldn't catch Grand Reward and Second of June, finishing third, beaten just 1 ½ lengths.

In the Pimlico Special, Presidentialaffair made the lead as expected and went six furlongs in 1:11.83 on a sloppy track. Eurosilver was second at that point, and Funny Cide -- making his first start since last October's Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) -- was sitting third.

By the time the field had gone a mile in 1:38.30, Eibar Coa had moved Eddington to third and, when they rolled into the stretch in the 1 3/16 mile race, Eddington was full of run. He swept by the leaders and coasted home as Pollard's Vision finished second and Presidentialaffair held on for third.

"This is a very tough horse to ride," Coa said. "He's a horse that's mentally young. Last time (in the Oaklawn Handicap) I got him upset by taking him back. He just wants to be happy. He handled the dirt well doing his own thing. In the stretch he just had another gear. Everybody saw how he finished."

The final time was a slow 1:58.05.

Eddington, the narrow second choice behind Offlee Wild in the quality field of seven, paid $7.20, $4, and $2.80, while Pollard's Vision returned $5.60 and $3.80. Presidentialaffair was worth $3.40.

"There was always something with him last year," Hennig said. "We had to worry last year if he was going to switch leads, things like that. He was mentally immature. At times, it was very frustrating."

Eddington ran at Pimlico a year ago, finishing third in the Preakness (gr. I) behind Smarty Jones and Rock Hard Ten.

Funny Cide, who carried top weight of 120 pounds, was fourth, followed by Eurosilver and Offlee Wild. Grand Reward dropped back after contesting the early pace and was pulled up by Gary Stevens leaving the backstretch.

"I don't care what anybody says, he doesn't like mud," said Funny Cide's trainer Barclay Tagg. "He doesn't like mud in the morning, and he doesn't like mud in the afternoon. He's coming off a long layoff. He's good and fit and I thought he was going to run well but when it rained like that I was concerned about it."

Offlee Wild endured a wide trip throughout under Edgar Prado and wilted in the stretch.

"He didn't like the track," Prado said. "He broke sharp and I went to make a move on the backstretch, but I really had to ask him for it."

(Chart, Equibase)