A varied group of 12 horses are scheduled to contest the Argent Dixie Stakes (gr. IIT), one of eight straight stakes offered at Pimlico on Saturday. The nine-furlong Argent Dixie is the 10th on the card, two races before the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
Warleigh, who won last month's John B. Connally Breeders' Cup Turf Handicap (also at nine furlongs), is the highweight for the race. He will carry 124 pounds, including jockey Shane Sellers. Warleigh is a son of turf sire Lord At War and previously raced for Eugene Melnyk, who paid $260,000 for the horse as a yearling.
Steve Asmussen now trains Warleigh for Rosenda Parra. The horse has been in Asmussen's care since last fall and has won three stakes since then. Warleigh is one of three stakes winners produced by the Naskra mare Must Ask. He was bred in Kentucky by Wimborne Farm.
Gamaliel Vazquez has entered two recent additions to his group of trainees for Michael Gill. Wudantunoit, a 6-year-old stakes-winning son of Dumaani
, was claimed by Gill in his last start for $62,500 from his breeder, Dr. William Reed's Stonecrest Farm. The horse was second in that race, a 5 1/2-furlong turf event at Fair Grounds in March.
Gill's second entry is My Lord, who he claimed for $25,000 in February at Fair Grounds. The Argent Dixie will be My Lord's first start in stakes company. Horacio Karamanos is listed as the rider for both entries. Gill also owns entrant White Buck, who is trained by Mark Shuman.
Kiaran McLaughlin will bring Appleton Handicap (gr. IIIT) winner Millennium Dragon to Pimlico for the race. Millennium Dragon ran sixth to Perfect Soul in his last start, the April 9 Maker's Mark Mile Stakes (gr. IIT) at Keeneland. Richard Migliore has ridden the Darley runner in his last three starts, and again has the call.
The Argent Dixie will be only the second start this year for 2003 Canadian Triple Crown winner Wando. The son of Langfuhr
won an 8 1/2-furlong Keeneland turf allowance in April for Michael Keogh by three-quarters of a length. Regular rider Patrick Husbands will be aboard.
The field for the $200,000 Argent Dixie Stakes (gr. IIT), from the rail out:
Horse, Jockey (weight), trainer
1--Warleigh, Shane Sellers (124), Steve Asmussen
2--Senor Swinger, Pat Day (119), Bob Baffert
3A--Wudantunoit, Horacio Karamanos (119), Gamaliel Vazquez
4A--My Lord, Horacio Karamanos (119), Gamaliel Vazquez
5--Silver Tree, Jerry Bailey (119), Bill Mott
6--Millennium Dragon, Richard Migliore (121), Kiaran McLaughlin
7A--White Buck, Abel Castellano Jr. (119), Mark Shuman
8--Megantic, Joe Bravo (119), N. Pointer
9--Mr. O'Brien, Ramon Dominguez (119), Norman Pointer
10--Herculated, Frankie Lovato Jr. (119), Mike Stidham
11--Better Talk Now, Edgar Prado (119), Graham Motion
12--Wando, Patrick Husbands (119), Mike Keogh