Pimlico Saturday Picks & Analysis for July 24: BWI Turf Cup Day

The beleaguered turf course at Pimlico Racecourse will take center stage on Saturday ... See who our turf-man likes in the featured BWI Turf Cup (G3) and the rest of the undercard!
The beleaguered turf course at Pimlico Racecourse will take center stage on Saturday ... See who our turf-man likes in the featured BWI Turf Cup (G3) and the rest of the undercard!
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The Pimlico racing season was extended when Laurel Park’s dirt surface suddenly needed a major renovation. That put undue pressure on Pimlico to extend its own racing into June and July. Their turf course was hardly ready for such use, and after a pause, it returned, as many held their collective breath.

Now, with a minor stakes schedule slated for this Saturday, anchored by the Grade III BWI Turf Cup, the card should offer some nice betting opportunities. Our turf-man has you covered with a full state of selections, and his own analysis of the important races. Have a read below …

If you're looking for picks elsewhere around the country on Saturday, be sure to check out our free Horse Racing Picks via the gold button below.

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Horse Racing Picks

Race 2: Turf, 1½, Bald Eagle Derby, $100k, 3  

One of a handful of distance routes on the turf taking place this weekend, this race did not draw a bevy of runners—6 show. Still, there are some interesting angles to be had in here. The showstopper will most assuredly be Graham Motion’s Wootton Asset #5. The colt is bred for this kind of action, as both his parents were “stayers” to the utmost effect. Madaket Stables brought this one to Fair Hill, Maryland last year for Motion to train. Since then, he is well-travelled, having plied the turf already at Pimlico, Belmont, Del Mar, and most recently at Delaware. He still hasn’t won his 1st U.S. race, so the time seems right for that to happen.

The only runner standing in Motion’s way is Jonathan Thomas’ Experienced #6. The gelding is anything but that for Augustin Stable, but this one is out of Temple City. Coupled with Thomas’ excellent training ability, he could be impressive. His dam side speaks to turf (No Matter What), and that strengthens the argument further. Jockey Daniel Centeno, who spends a significant time riding on the Tampa turf, is an able lawn navigator. With only 1 race under his belt (which was a maiden win), that seems like a “big ask” to jump up from a MSW38 to this 100k. If anyone can do it, then Thomas is the one to try. This one could be a squeaker late. Tie goes to Motion …

Wagering Recommendation: $2 Exacta Cold, 5 w 6

 

Race 4: Turf, 5F, Sensible Lady Turf Dash S. $100k, F&M 3+

There is nothing like a dash, and this one pits a field of 7 against one another, as locals go toe-to-toe. What makes this contest so tough is the lack of a clear favorite. Sure, Brittany Russell’s So Gracious #4 and Kent Sweezey’s What a Trick #2 have some upside. They have different running styles, as the former likes to come from off-the-pace, while the other is more of a loose on the lead type. I suppose either of these could win, but I am less than enthusiastic.

On other fronts, I like Golden Can #5 who should be a solid pick, especially since this filly comes in riding a 2-race win streak. Trainer Hassan Elamri thinks she is ready for “Non-G” events, and he might be right. These Golden Lad offspring sure do take to the grass well. For a value play, why not back a runner like Tim Keefe’s Dendrobia #3? She is a 6-yr-old who has recent experience at this level. I realize her record is spotty, but she ran well enough late in a 75k last time at PIM. That could be improved on here … Maybe her price on the tote will look more inviting once race time approaches.

Wagering Recommendation: $100 Bankroll, Graduated Wager, WPS #3 ($10-W, $15-P, $75-S)

 

Race 6: Turf, 1 1/8th, Big Dreyfus S. $100k, F&M 3+

The 1 1/8th on the grass is a tough distance because it is an “in-between” type of race. It requires a unique mix of stamina and speed … horses that are not used to running it, can be exhausted when those extra gears are necessary.

With such a short field of 6, it is going to be difficult to see anyone getting the best of Chad Brown’s Counterparty Risk #2. This filly out of Australia (GB) has challenged some leaders in the grass route division. When you are running against Micheline, Regal Glory, and New York Girl, that is pretty stiff comp, especially compared to this lot. I don’t see anyone in here that has the ability to keep pace in the later stages of this race.

Klaravich Stables has made a mint on investing in turf routers, and Brown’s training ability is almost without equal across-the-board. If you can find someone in this “Non-G” affair that has the chops to square off with this recent alum of the Eatontown (G3) at Monmouth Park, then I am certainly willing to listen. As I see it, only Mike Trombetta’s No Mo Lady #5 has a chance. Her weakness is a lack of energy once the stretch arrives, and unless Brown’s runner is compromised by traffic, this looks like a done deal.

Wagering Recommendation: $50 Win #2

 

Race 8: Turf, 1 Mile, BWI Turf Cup S. (G3), $200k, 3+

The BWI 2021 Edition brings together a salty group of runners, which is going to make handicapping this race a real puzzle. Most will gravitate to Mike Maker’s seasoned 4-yr-old colt, Field Pass #1. Talk about well-travelled … This son of Lemon Drop Kid has major shipping experience, and should be the race time favorite, unless bettors flock elsewhere. It is deserved in this Grade III because clearly, he is used to running at higher levels. It’s been a bit since the Three Diamonds route specialist actually won a race … you would have to go back to the Ontario Derby (G3) last November at Woodbine. Still, the quality of races he has tried include the Mathis Bros. (G2), Maker’s Mark (G1), Man ‘O War (G1), and most recently, the Wise Dan (G2). Finishing 4th at Churchill in that one wasn’t terrible. I think a possible impediment here at Pimlico could be the decision to hand these reigns to Victory Carrasco. He is not a good lawn decision-maker, and his numbers speak to the fact that he either doesn’t understand his craft, or just gets terrible mounts. In other words, this could be a chink in the Maker armor.

If you are looking for an alternative, then I would seriously consider either Mike Stidham’s Pixelate #4 or Wesley Ward’s Ramsey Solution #6. Both of these runners come from excellent barns, ownership groups, and are bred well for the turf. Their experience is a mix of solid class (in the case of #4), and rising in the ranks (in the case of #6). Either of them could win this distance test, and I am partial to the Stidham entry because not only is he a Godolphin homebred, but he was stellar in the prep for this race. Looking sharp coming back here is a nice sign. As for a longer shot, I have to say I have a soft spot for Graham Motion’s English Bee #5. The 5-yr-old out of legend English Channel is going to float well beyond 10/1, and that suits me. A few years back, he won some contests, and competed at some of the highest levels in the division. Sure, he has lost a step, but this is a Calumet homebred. Though Jorge Vargas is not the greatest turf rider in the history of the world, he has the opportunity to shine on the back of a price horse. Let’s use this Motion-trained runner … we know what kind of conditioner he is.

Wagering Recommendation: $2 Trifecta Box, 1/4/5/6

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Enjoy some action from Baltimore! The tradition at Pimlico marches on …

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