Pimlico News and Notes: May 27, 2021

May 27, 2021

Laurel Park Horsemen Settling Into Temporary Home at Timonium

Well-Meant Artistic Reason Set to Launch Comeback in Saturday Allowance

Nominations for Five June 13 Stakes at Pimlico Close Sunday, May 30

BALTIMORE – While work continues on a complete resurfacing of the main track, some Laurel Park-based horsemen are settling into their new temporary surroundings at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

Hamilton Smith, a winner of more than 2,000 races over four and a half decades training Thoroughbreds, had 27 horses make the roughly 40-mile trip north from Laurel to Timonium, with more on the way.

On Wednesday, Smith became the first trainer with timed breezes since the move to Timonium, with only three posted workouts. Smith breezed four more horses among a total of 16 workers Thursday.

“As far as making the move and all, we handled all that pretty smoothly. We got them all over here and everything seems to be going all right so far,” Smith said. “It’s all part of it. Things happen, and you have to adjust. You just have to get organized and get it done. That’s what it takes, and we got it done pretty smooth.”

Laurel had allowed training but no breezing over the main track until Monday, with all horses required to leave the grounds by Thursday. Many relocated to Timonium or historic Pimlico Race Course, where the Preakness Meet has been extended through June 27.

“Everything went smoothly. We got everything over on Monday and everyone trained [Tuesday]. The track was riding really well and all the horses settled in and seem to like it,” trainer Jerry O’Dwyer said.

O’Dwyer, who will have between 15 and 20 horses at Timonium, has two horses entered on Saturday’s card at Pimlico – Blushable in a maiden special weight on turf and Doubleoseven in a Maryland-bred/sired allowance on the dirt.

“It’s part of the game; you’ve just got to roll with the punches,” he said. “But, I’m very happy with how the track is over there. The stalls are nice and the stable area is very relaxed for them there. All my horses are happy and relaxed, and I’m happy that they’re happy.”

Smith has three horses entered on Friday’s nine-race program and one in Saturday’s opener. He finished with the fourth-most points among trainers in non-stakes races over Preakness weekend May 14-15, earning a $4,000 bonus.

“Everything looks fine. It looks like everybody pretty much moved in and settled down by now,” Smith said. “So far the racetrack hasn’t been that crowded and everybody’s getting along well.”

Timonium plays host to the Maryland State Fair Meet each summer, which in recent years has been a short stand over two weekends that runs through Labor Day and this year is scheduled for Aug. 26-Sept. 6. The 2020 meet was canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The fairgrounds is also home for various Thoroughbred auctions. A 60-stall tent that was used for Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic 2-year-old in training sale May 17-18 remains on the grounds to increase capacity to nearly 600.

Along with the change in scenery, trainers also have to account for Timonium’s smaller  racing surface which, at five furlongs, is a half-mile shorter than Laurel’s 1 1/8-mile circumference.

Training at Timonium is held Monday through Saturday from 5:30 to 10:30 a.m. with breaks at 7 and 9 a.m. Gate schooling is available Tuesday through Saturday from 7:30 to 10 a.m.

“Some of them you may have to make a little adjustment for, but I’ve stabled here before and I’ve had horses run good after training here at Timonium and I look for them to run well again,” Smith said. “I don’t change a whole lot. I have my schedule set to what I do on a normal basis and I basically do the same thing here. They just have to go around more turns.”

Live racing returns to Pimlico Friday with a Maryland state record carryover of $708,857.92 in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 and a carryover of $115,038.40 in the 50-cent Late Pick 5. Post time for the first of nine races is 12:40 p.m.

Well-Meant Artistic Reason Set to Launch Comeback in Saturday Allowance

Hillwood Stable and Richard Golden’s homebred Artistic Reason, a younger half-brother to 2020 Runhappy Barbara Fritchie (G3) winner Majestic Reason, is entered to make his return to the races in Saturday’s featured allowance at Pimlico Race Course.

Based with Graham Motion at the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md., Artistic Reason drew Post 6 in a field of eight for the 1 1/16-mile entry-level allowance restricted to Maryland-bred/sired horses. Feargal Lynch will ride the 4-year-old son of multiple graded-stakes winning sprinter Munnings.

“I think he’s done well,” Motion said. “I loved Munnings. I love him as a stallion. This is a horse that we always liked quite a lot. He hasn’t done much wrong, and you get the advantage of running in a Maryland-bred race to get him started.”

Unraced at 2, Artistic Reason raced four times between June 8 and August 8 last year, all at Laurel Park. He won a waiver maiden claimer going a mile on the dirt in his third start, also with Lynch up, then was second by a length in a 1 1/16-mile restricted allowance. He got the winter off, was gelded, and returned in mid-April to the work tab showing six breezes over Fair Hill’s main track.

Among the competition Saturday are Dream Big Dreams, a son of 2013 General George (G3) winner Bandbox that graduated in a March 14 maiden special weight and most recently ran fifth behind Todd Pletcher-trained Dr Jack in an optional claiming allowance May 14 at Pimlico; six-figure earners Can’t Pass It Up, Market Mover, Toy and Welling, who have made 69 combined starts; and Doubleoseven, third last out in the May 9 Gold Fever at Belmont Park.

“It’s certainly easier than some, but I don’t think it’s an easy spot by any means. I think there’s a couple of decent horses in there,” Motion said. “I think it helps being Maryland-bred. It’s an advantage to be able to run in there, for sure.”

Motion finished with the third-most points among trainers in stakes races over Preakness weekend May 14-15, winning the Gallorette (G3) with Mean Mary and Hilltop with Alda and earning a $12,000 bonus. He said Bye Bye Melvin, fourth in the Dinner Party (G2), is likely to return to Pimlico for the $100,000 Prince George’s County June 13 at 1 1/8 miles on the grass for 3-year-olds and up.

Also on June 13, Motion is pointing 2020 Dowager (G3) winner Blame Debbie to the $100,000 Searching for fillies and mares 3 and up going 1 ½ miles on the turf. Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners bought into the now 4-year-old filly following her second start, an October 2019 maiden win at Keeneland, with original owners Michael Cloonan and Timothy Thornton.

After winning an 1 1/8-mile allowance and the 1 ½-mile Dowager 16 days apart last fall at Keeneland, Blame Debbie has gone unraced since running a troubled fifth, beaten less than three lengths, in the 1 3/8-mile Red Carpet Handicap (G3) in November at Del Mar.

“It seems the longer the better for her,” Motion said.

Nominations for Five June 13 Stakes at Pimlico Close Sunday, May 30

The Maryland Jockey Club is offering five stakes worth $475,000 in purses Sunday, June 13 at historic Pimlico Race Course. Nominations for all five stakes close Sunday, May 30.

Four of the five June 13 stakes are on turf. The lone dirt race is the $100,000 Shine Again for fillies and mares 3 and up sprinting six furlongs, part of the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championship (MATCH) Series that had its first four of 24 races Preakness weekend, May 14-15, at Pimlico.

Two turf stakes will be five-furlong sprints – the $100,000 Stormy Blues for 3-year-old fillies and $75,000 Ben’s Cat for Maryland-bred/sired horses 3 and up. They are joined by the $100,000 Prince George’s County for 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/8 miles and $100,000 Searching for fillies and mares 3 and up at 1 ½ miles.

Nominations can be made by calling Pimlico’s racing office at 800-638-1859 or emailing stakes coordinator Trish Bowman at trish.bowman@marylandracing.com

Maryland Jockey Club Press Release

@jonathanstettin great read as always!

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