Triple Crown Veterans Face Off in Pimlico Special
One day prior to hosting the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), Pimlico Racecourse will put on a stakes-packed Friday card that includes the $300,000 Pimlico Special (gr. III), a 9.5-furlong race that will pit veterans of the 2017 Triple Crown trail against a few accomplished older rivals.In terms of overall achievements, no horse in the race can boast quite the same level of form as Irish War Cry, winner of the Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. II) and runner-up in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) last season. The Graham Motion-trained colt has thrown down five triple-digit BRIS speed figures during his career, but is currently riding a six-race losing streak that dates back to the 2017 Kentucky Derby. In fact, the son of Curlin was eased while finishing last in the Gulfstream Park Hardacre Mile (gr. II) last time out, so he’ll be seeking a major rebound in the Pimlico Special.
To a lesser extent, the same can be said of Untrapped, who finished twelfth in the 2017 Kentucky Derby. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Untrapped secured his signature win in the Oklahoma Derby (gr. III) last September but has gone winless in five starts since then, most recently coming home a distant third behind the Grade 1 winners City of Light and Accelerate in the Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II). The slight drop in class for the Pimlico Special could be beneficial, though it remains to be seen if Untrapped can be as effective going 9.5 furlongs.
The 2017 Southwest Stakes (gr. III) winner One Liner missed the Triple Crown, but has run twice so far this season and stepped up his game with a hard-fought allowance win at Keeneland last month, bringing his record to a near-perfect 4-for-5. Racing for the powerful team of trainer and owners WinStar Farm and China Horse Club, One Liner could be poised to rejoin the big leagues with a sharp effort in the Pimlico Special.
Something Awesome might be seven years old, but he’s in career-best form with three straight wins under his belt, including the Charles Town Classic (gr. II) going nine furlongs. Rated R Superstar is also on the rise despite being five years old; once known as a sprinter, the son of Kodiak Kowboy recently stretched out to nine furlongs and won the Ben Ali Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland with a huge run from off the pace.
Completing the field are Discreet Lover, Hedge Fund, and Afleet Willy, all of them stakes winners this year; and Papa Zulu, a recent allowance winner. The Pimlico Special is the ninth race on the card, with a projected post time of 3:43 p.m. Eastern.