Amer­i­can Pharoah draws rail, at 4-5

Daily Racing Form Saturday Stakes Preview - - FRONT PAGE - – Jay Priv­man

BAL­TI­MORE – Amer­i­can Pharoah, the Ken­tucky Derby win­ner, on Wed­nes­day landed the rail and was in­stalled as the odds-on fa­vorite for the 140th Preak­ness Stakes on Satur­day here at Pim­lico.

A field of eight en­tered the Preak­ness. From the rail out, the field is Amer­i­can Pharoah, Dort­mund, Mr. Z, Danzig Moon, Tale of Verve, Bod­hisattva, Di­vin­ing Rod, and Fir­ing Line. Mike Watch­maker,

na­tional hand­i­cap­per, has Amer­i­can Pharoah fa­vored at 3-5. Dort­mund, the Bob Baf­fert-trained stable­mate of Amer­i­can Pharoah who was third in the Derby, is next at 7-2, with Derby run­ner-up Fir­ing Line the third choice at 9-2.

Keith Fues­tle, the line­maker at Pim­lico, has Amer­i­can Pharoah at 4-5, Dort­mund at 7-2, and Fir­ing Line at 4-1.

Baf­fert said the draw was not ideal.

“I’m just glad we didn’t draw that for the Derby,” Baf­fert said. Amer­i­can Pharoah orig­i­nally had post 18 in the Derby, and Dort­mund post 8.

Hav­ing his horses side by side will make the start “easy to watch,” Baf­fert said.

“We have it, can’t do any­thing about it,” he said. “If he’s the best horse,” he said, re­fer­ring to Amer­i­can Pharoah, “we’re go­ing to find out.”

The lone sur­prise en­trant was Mr. Z, who went into the race fol­low­ing a pri­vate sale Wed­nes­day by his orig­i­nal owner, Ahmed Zayat, to the Calumet Farm of Brad Kel­ley. So, Zayat, who owns Amer­i­can Pharoah, will have as one of his ri­vals a horse he owned in the Derby and up un­til three days be­fore the Preak­ness.

“They gave us an of­fer we could not refuse,” Zayat said in a phone call from Italy, where he was on a brief busi­ness trip.

Mr. Z, 13th in the Derby, was one of five Derby run­ners en­tered in the Preak­ness. But it’s the pres­ence of Amer­i­can Pharoah, Fir­ing Line, and Dort­mund – the first three fin­ish­ers from the Derby – that kept the over­all size of the Preak­ness field down. If all eight start, this will be the small­est Preak­ness field since 2000, when Red Bul­let up­set Derby win­ner Fu­saichi Pe­ga­sus.

Amer­i­can Pharoah ar­rived at Pim­lico around 2:30 p.m. Eastern on Wed­nes­day fol­low­ing a flight from Louisville, where he won the Derby at Churchill Downs on May 2. He con­tin­ues to wear a protective plate on his left front hoof, as he has for weeks. Preak­ness run­ners Danzig Moon, Dort­mund, Fir­ing Line, and Tale of Verve also were on the flight.

The Preak­ness, at 1 3/16 miles, is 110 yards shorter than the Derby and is the short­est of the Triple Crown races.

Dixie Stakes draws a full cast

They might have had trou­ble round­ing up enough horses for the Preak­ness Stakes, but that cer­tainly wasn’t the case when it came to the Grade 2, $300,000 Dixie Stakes for older males.

An over­flow field of 16 was

en­tered for the Dixie, one of seven stakes on the un­der­card of Satur­day’s $1.5 mil­lion Preak­ness pro­gram at Pim­lico. Only 14 will be per­mit­ted to start in the Dixie, sched­uled for 1 1/16 miles on turf and the 12th race on the card, di­rectly pre­ced­ing the Preak­ness.

Lochte and Up With the Birds are Grade 1 win­ners, but the race fea­tures a re­match be­tween Aripeka, Long On Value, and Leg­endary, the sec­ond-, third-, and fourth­place fin­ish­ers be­hind Jack Mil­ton in the Grade 1 Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland on April 10.

Long On Value could be an emerg­ing tal­ent for Bill Mott. He won the Grade 3 Canadian Turf at Gulf­stream from off the pace be­fore rac­ing on the lead in the Maker’s 46 Mile and fad­ing to third in a race run over soft turf. He got sad­dled with post 12 for the Dixie.

An­other emerg­ing tal­ent is War Cor­re­spon­dent, who won the Grade 3 Ap­ple­ton by a neck over Aripeka. He got stuck in post 13.

Skyring, who up­set the 2013 Dixie at 24-1, is back in.

Gal­lorette Hand­i­cap draws 13

Wats­dachances, sec­ond in the Grade 3 Gal­lorette Hand­i­cap last spring, and Hard Not to Like, sec­ond in the 2013 Gal­lorette, top a 13-horse field of fil­lies and mares en­tered for Satur­day’s 64th re­newal of the $150,000 Gal­lorette, sched­uled for 1 1/16 miles on turf.

This year, Hard Not to Like was dis­qual­i­fied from a win in the Grade 3 En­deav­our and then fin­ished third in the Grade 1 Jenny Wi­ley, a race she won last year. She drew post 7 for the Gal­lorette.

Wats­dachances, who won her first two starts in this coun­try at age 2, has gone only 1 for 11 since. She has not raced since fin­ish­ing fourth in last year’s Grade 1 Flower Bowl In­vi­ta­tional at Bel­mont Park. She’ll break from post 8.

Sis­tas Stroll, the win­ner of the Grade 3 Pucker Up last year, makes her sec­ond start off a lay­off for Tom Proc­tor. Other con­tenders in­clude Emo­tional Kit­ten, Mango Diva, Run of the River, and Cat’s Claw.

Happy My Way seeks re­peat in Sprint

Happy My Way looks to end a year of frus­trat­ing de­feats and earn a re­peat victory in Satur­day’s Grade 3, $150,000 Mary­land Sprint Cham­pi­onship.

Since his victory here, Happy My Way has lost six straight, in­clud­ing run­ner-up fin­ishes in the Grade 1 Al­fred G. Van­der­bilt at Saratoga and Frank De Fran­cis Me­mo­rial Dash at Lau­rel. In two starts this year, he has a third in the Sun­shine Mil­lions Sprint and a sec­ond in the Grade 2 Gulf­stream Park Sprint.

In an eight-horse field, he’ll have to fend off the late run of Coup de Grace, a mul­ti­ple graded stakes- win­ning sprinter who is com­ing off a third-place fin­ish in a thirdlevel al­lowance race at Fair Grounds in March. In other Pim­lico stakes:

Don­worth and Fame and Power, sec­ond and third be­hind Preak­ness con­tender Di­vin­ing Rod in the Lex­ing­ton Stakes at Keeneland, head a field of nine en­tered in the $100,000 Sir Bar­ton Stakes for 3-yearolds at 1 1/16 miles on dirt.

Bold Con­quest, third be­hind Amer­i­can Pharoah and Made­from­lucky in the Rebel Stakes, drew post 5, while Fame and Power drew the rail and Don­worth drew post 6.

Holy Boss, the win­ner of the Bach­e­lor Stakes at Oak­lawn, and Gimme Da Lute, the win­ner of the Echo Ed­die Stakes at Santa Anita, top a field of 11 en­tered in the $100,000 Chick Lang Stakes for 3-year-olds at six fur­longs.

Age­less, who won the The Very One last year, and Shrink­ing Vi­o­let, the win­ner of the Grade 2 Mon­rovia at Santa Anita in Jan­uary, head a field of 11 en­tered for the $100,000 The Very One at five fur­longs on turf.

Force the Pass, the win­ner of the Cut­ler Pass Stakes at Gulf­stream Park, and Blue­grass Singer, the win­ner of the Parx Derby, head a field of eight en­tered in the $100,000 James Mur­phy for 3-year-olds sched­uled for a mile on turf.

Bel­mont: La Ver­dad faces four in Va­grancy

Headed by dual Grade 2 win­ner and 121-pound high­weight La Ver­dad, a field of five fil­lies and mares was drawn Wed­nes­day for Satur­day’s 65th run­ning of the Grade 3, $150,000 Va­grancy Hand­i­cap at Bel­mont Park.

Com­ing off a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive score in Aqueduct’s Distaff, La Ver­dad breaks from the rail in the 6 1/2-fur­long Va­grancy, which is carded as the sixth of 12 races; post time is 2:59 p.m. Eastern.

Set to op­pose La Ver­dad are two fil­lies trained by Kiaran Mclaugh­lin, Sus­tain­able and Mam­dooha; and two mares trained by David Ja­cob­son, Room for Me and Fri­vol­ity.

There will be no show wa­ger­ing on the Va­grancy.

Also on tap is the $100,000 Wait a While Stakes for 3-year-old fil­lies, which is sched­uled for the Wi­dener turf at seven fur­longs and po­si­tioned as race 10 at 5:38 p.m. Eight were en­tered for the grass, headed by Sun­set Glow, the win­ner of the Grade 1 Del Mar Debu­tante and Grade 2 Sor­rento on Del Mar’s re­cently re­moved Poly­track.


Dort­mund fin­ished third af­ter set­ting the pace in the Derby.

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