Stanford wins Charles Town Classic

Stanford wins Charles Town Classic

Coady Photography

CT Classic Rematch in Pimlico Special?

Stanford and Page McKenney finished one-two in grade II event in West Virginia.

Stanford  and Page McKenney, the one-two finishers in the $1.25 million Charles Town Classic (gr. II) last time out, are set for a rematch in the $300,000 Sagamore Spirit Pimlico Special (gr. III) May 20 at Pimlico Race Course—if Stanford's connections opt to run him.

The Pimlico Special, at 1 3/16 miles, is the seventh race on a 14-race Friday program on the eve of the Preakness Stakes (gr. I). The race for 3-year-olds and up attracted a field of eight.

Stanford, owned by Stonestreet Stables, Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith, broke through for his first graded stakes victory in the April 23 Charles Town Classic, which he won in gate-to-wire fashion after steady pressure from Page McKenney for the first mile of the 1 1/18-mile event. Trained by Todd Pletcher, the 4-year-old Malibu Moon  colt is having a strong season thus far with a close second-place finish in the Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II) and another second in the Fred W. Hooper Stakes (gr. III) to begin his 2016 campaign.

Stanford drew post 2 in the Pimlico Special with Javier Castellano named to ride. He could, however, scratch from the Special to train up to the June 11 Metropolitan  (gr. I) in New York, Pletcher said. Savoy Stomp, a two-time allowance race winner, was a late entry for the Special.

"We kind of figured we'd buy some time to look at it," Pletcher said. "Whether or not Stanford runs could weigh into the decision whether Savoy Stomp does, as well. I entered (Savoy Stomp) in an allowance race at Belmont that didn't fill, so we were kind of looking for a spot."

Adam Staple and Jalin Stable's Page McKenney, a 6-year-old Eavesdropper gelding who finished second to Commissioner  in last year's Pimlico Special, drew post 1 with Horacio Karamanos aboard for trainer Mary Eppler. The 16-time winner of more than $1.4 million was a strong second in the Charles Town Classic even though he pressed Stanford much of the way, but he generally races from not far off the pace in his two-turn races.

Team Valor International and Southern Equine Stable's Savoy Stomp, a 4-year-old Medaglia d'Oro colt, finished fourth in the 1 1/8-mile Skip Away Stakes at Gulfstream Park in his last start, Eppler also has two entered in the Special; the other is Golden Glint, a 7-year-old Medaglia d'Oro gelding who won his last start—an allowance event at Laurel Park—after the trainer claimed him back for Staple for $32,000 in his previous start.

John Oxley's Noble Bird , winner of the grade I Stephen Foster Handicap last year, looks to rebound after a disappointing effort at the favorite in the May 6 Alysheba Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs. Trained by Mark Casse, Noble Bird, a 5-year-old Birdstone  horse, didn't have the best of trips in the Alysheba after a poor start and wide journey.

Julien Leparoux is named to ride Noble Bird from post 7 for Casse, who is sending a contingent of horses to Pimlico for the May 20-21 stakes-laden programs.

Entries: Pimlico Special H. (G3)

Pimlico Race Course, Friday, May 20, 2016, Race 7

  • Grade III
  • 1 3/16m
  • Dirt
  • $300,000
  • 3 yo's & up
  • 2:39 PM (local)
11Page McKenney (PA)Horacio Karamanos118Mary E. Eppler5/2
22Stanford (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJavier Castellano124Todd A. Pletcher8/5
33Savoy Stomp (KY)John R. Velazquez118Todd A. Pletcher15/1
44Golden Glint (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateTrevor McCarthy118Mary E. Eppler10/1
55Idolo Porteno (ARG)Florent Geroux118Ignacio Correas, IV12/1
66Hesinfront (KY)Luis Saez118Dale L. Romans15/1
77Noble Bird (KY)Julien R. Leparoux118Mark E. Casse3/1
88Warrioroftheroses (NY)UNKNOWN118Damon R. Dilodovico30/1