Tracy Farmer's 4-year-old Albert the Great is the favorite for Saturday's $750,000 Pimlico Special (gr. I) at Pimlico Race Course. Jockey Jorge Chavez, who won last Saturday's Kentucky Derby aboard Monarchos, will be aboard for the 36th running of the historic Special contested at 1 3/16 miles.
Trained by Nick Zito, Albert the Great finished a close-up second to Captain Steve in the Donn Handicap (gr. I) at Gulfstream in early February and scored a track record victory in the Widener Handicap (gr. III) at Hialeah on March 24. Zito has won the Pimlico Special twice -- Strike the Gold in 1992 and Star Standard in 1996.
Second choice in the Special will be between William Clifton, Jr.'s Pleasant Breeze with Corey Nakatani aboard and Robert Meyerhoff's local favorite Include under jockey Jerry Bailey.
Both carry 114 pounds, a seven-pound concession from Albert the Great, who will carry 121.
Pleasant Breeze is a 6-year-old son of Pleasant Colony trained by H. James Bond. Pleasant Breeze has made three starts this year and was a game second last out, beaten a half-length by Sir Bear in the Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. I) on March 3. He missed a start in the Oaklawn Handicap (gr. I) in early April with a minor foot bruise.
Include comes into the race with a three-race win streak for trainer Bud Delp, including a stunning victory over the track in the Jennings Handicap against other Maryland-breds on April 21.
Also set to go with 114 pounds is Stronach Stable's 4-year-old Milwaukee Brew with jockey Edgar Prado. A son of Wild Again, Milwaukee Brew is trained by Joe Orseno, who sent out the stable's Golden Missile to capture the Special last year.
The field includes: Include (Jerry Bailey, 114) 3-1; Pleasant Breeze (H. James Bond, 114) 6-1; Albert the Great (Jorge Chavez, 121) 4-5; Milwaukee Brew (Edgar Prado, 114) 5-1; Laredo (Rick Wilson, 111) 20-1; and Sergeant York (Harry Vega, 110) 8-1.