They raised the roof on the large Under Armour hospitality tent in the Pimlico Race Course infield after Recruiting Ready sprinted to victory for owner Sagamore Farm in the $200,000 Maker’s Mark Chick Lang Stakes on the May 20 Preakness Stakes (G1) undercard.
Sagamore, the iconic Maryland breeding nursery, is owned by Under Armour founder Kevin Plank, who was among the throng that crowded into winner’s circle following the race.
After being bumped slightly at the start, the 3-year-old son of Algorithms and jockey Horacio Karamanos split horses to take the lead and set a moderate pace of :22.98, while chased by Bobby Abu Dhabi. Completing the half-mile :45.96, Recruiting Ready kicked clear from his pursuer and extended his advantage to 3 3/4 lengths over Aquamarine, who advanced from third to finish second. The final time for six furlongs over the muddy main track was 1:10.35. Recruiting Ready returned $7.40 for the win.
Multiple stakes winner Three Rules, the 6-5 favorite, steadied briefly entering the turn and and made up some ground to finish third in the eight-horse field of sophomores.
The victory was the second in as many starts at Pimlico for Triple Crown-nominated Recruiting Ready, who improved his record to 4-1-2 from nine starts and bumped his earnings to $308,765. Recruiting Ready began his 2017 campaign with a 10th-place finish in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream Park and was given two months off before returning to win an allowance. Prior to the May 20 victory, the colt won the Bachelor Stakes by 5 1/4 lengths at Oaklawn Park.
Winning trainer Horacio DePaz, who recently took ovedr as private trainer for Sagamore, said the victory was especially gratifying because of the local connections.
"Having Kevin, and being in Baltimore here, it means a lot for us to be able to win a race like this for him," DePaz said. "The horse does best when he's on the lead. We kind of let him free run a little bit. If you take too much hold of him, he really isn't going to settle. He's a strong horse. I was surprised those other horses went with him, but I was comfortable with where he was at the whole way around.
"He's learning to run now. He settles a little bit and he's making that run at the end. We will definitely keep him sprinting for now. We'll see how he comes back off of this. He's also been campaigned pretty hard, so I want to take care of him and maybe focus on Saratoga or something. But we'll see. Everything is open."
"He gave me a nice kick at the top of the stretch and was very strong today," Karmanos said. "He’s a really good horse who ran against some of the best in the country last year. We are three-for-three together, so I think we're a good match."
Bred in Kentucky Claiborne Farm, the Chick Lang winner was purchased for $240,000 from the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale.
The locals were also successful in the $100,000 The Very One Stakes for older distaffers sprinting on grass when Maryland-bred Everything Lovely led from outset for a relatively easy two-length triumph. The 5-year-old daughter of Pollard's Vision trained by Katie Demasi for Pewter Stable and Armand Delaperriere blitzed the five furlongs over a course rated good in :57.93.
Bred by Mr. and Mrs. Charles McGinnes and bought for $70,000 from the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale of 2-year-olds in training, the winner has a record of 6-6-4 from 20 starts, with a bankroll of $321,536.
In the $100,000 James W. Murphy for 3-year-olds going a mile on turf, Japanese-bred Yoshida rallied for a four-length triumph in his third start and first stakes attempt. Ridden by Joel Rosario for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, the colt was stuck behind horses as the field entered the far turn and barreled his way between horses at the top of the stretch. The final time over the course rated good was 1:36.83.
A son of Heart's Cry, Yoshida was produced from the U.S. grade 1 winner Hilda's Passion. Bred in Japan by Northern Farm, Yoshida was purchased for the U.S. equivalent of $765,160 as a yearling at a sale in Japan and races for WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International, and SF Racing Group. The colt was named as a tribute to Northern Farm's Katsumi Yoshida and his brother, Teruya Yoshida.
Alex Campbell Jr.'s homebred No Mo Dough scored his third victory in four starts when he displayed a quick turn of foot and avoided the traffic problems of other runners to take the $100,000 Sir Barton Stakes at 1 1/16 miles, the final non-graded undercard stakes on the program.
The son of Uncle Mo returned off a two-week turnaround after winning an allowance test over a sloppy track on the May 6 Churchill Downs card that featured the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1). He graduated in his first stakes test at 9-1 odds.