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Check out our predictions and odds for the Pimlico Special at Pimlico!
I Ortiz, Jr
RATTLE N ROLL
*Odds provided by author Brian Zipse.
Both coming off impressive stakes victories, Rattle N Roll and Law Professor are set to do battle as they lead a field of eight older males in Friday’s historic Pimlico Special.
The likely favorite in the Grade 3 test is the multiple graded stakes winner Rattle N Roll. Trained by Kenny McPeek, the son of Connect has won four stakes races in his last seven starts.
A Grade 1 winner at Keeneland as a juvenile, he again demonstrated his fondness for that oval last out, storming to victory in the Grade 3 Ben Ali four weeks ago.
Chief among his opposition in the 1 3/16-mile Pimlico Special will be the Rob Atras-trained Law Professor.
Fifth in last fall’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, the gelded son of Constitution has romped in a pair of stakes races at Aqueduct since then. Wins in the Queens County and Excelsior sandwich a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Razorback.
Another horse coming into Friday’s $250,000 affair off a stakes victory is the Juan Alvarado-trained Clapton.
A son of Brethren, he earned his second career stakes victory with a hard-fought win in the Grade 3 Ghostzapper last month at Gulfstream Park as a 21/1 longshot.
Coming off an impressive graded stakes victory at the same distance last out, it’s easy to see why this Kenny McPeek-trained runner is listed as the morning line favorite.
A Grade 1 winner as a 2-year-old, he has not been able to sustain that level, but has been able to win four more stakes races since.
Likely to be well off the pace early, he will need to make his move early because there is a very talented speed horse in the race. He is an obvious threat, but I do like one other rival better on Friday
This 5-year-old son of Constitution continues to get better and better for trainer Rob Atras. His race last fall when second behind the topnotch Life Is Good in the Grade 1 Woodward was eye opening.
He’s won two of four since then, and has not run poorly in his defeats. Last out, he dominated his competition in the Excelsior Stakes at Aqueduct. This is clearly tougher, but he looks primed for the challenge.
It will be an interesting match-up between his speed and the late run of Rattle N Roll. I like his chances to hold that rival at bay. He is the top pick.
A longshot winner of his last, this son of Brethren will look to prove that his victory in the Grade 3 Ghostzapper was no fluke.
Twice a stakes winner at Gulfstream Park, he will also need to demonstrate that he can win at another track, and the added distance of the Pimlico Special is also a concern.
I’m not on his side in this one as I do think the field last time came up weak for a Grade 3. In previous attempts in graded stakes, he looked a full cut below.
One of three sons of Uncle Mo in the race, this one now hails from the barn of Todd Pletcher. He looked like a nice developing horse in Kentucky last summer, but has had only one start since.
It came last month at Aqueduct and it was a solid return race, just missing in an allowance race in a photo. He’ll need to improve to win this, but off the solid prep, there is every reason to believe he can move forward for his second start for the new barn.
He has the tactical speed to be in the picture from the outset and demonstrated that he fits with this class in two stakes tries last year. After the top two, I like him next best.
Of the longshots, this son of Uncle Mo might be the most interesting. A 4-year-old, he’s still lightly raced and has shown flashes of talent for trainer Ron Moquett.
He began the year with a big allowance win at Oaklawn Park and followed that up with a solid second behind the classy Smile Happy.
His last was not quite as good, but he did show some gameness in finishing second. He should make his presence felt early in the race, but stretching out in distance, I see this as a tough task.
This son of Uncle Mo was on the Kentucky Derby trail early last year, but was not good enough in New York to make the first Saturday in May.
Running in allowance company of late, he has shown more interest, and in fact, finished ahead of Clapton two starts back.
His last two efforts are good enough to take a shot on Friday, but still, he has not won a race in 19 months. I like too many others better here to consider him a contender.
This 8-year-old gelding comes into the Pimlico Special off a dismal effort on the grass just two weeks ago. It’s not an ideal prep, but he does have better form on the main track.
He also has some speed and used that to his advantage two starts back when finishing second in the Excelsior. He was no match for Law Professor that day, however.
With seven career wins it’s hard to dismiss him completely, but I just have a hard time seeing how he can be a major threat here.
This son of Blame has been able to win eight times in Maryland, but all of those came against lesser competition than he will face on Friday.
In his most recent race, he finished strongly to get up in a five-horse allowance field. The good form and tenacity to get up at the wire should be admired, but there is no evidence that he can do that against this caliber.
I am looking elsewhere as the 7-year-old veteran makes his first career start in graded stakes company.
Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.
Email: [email protected]
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