The Pimlico is here and I’m not going to try to re-invent the wheel. I still think the West Coast horses are the best so here are my picks:
#8 Firing Line (4-1)
#1 American Pharoah (4-5)
#2 Dortmund (7-2)
#5 Tale of Verve (30-1)
Comment: I’m sticking with Firing Line and hope jockey Gary Stevens can get him to switch leads down the lane this time.
Here are some other races on the card:
Race 1: #7 Mafia Muscle Man (turf only) (6-1)
Trainer Larry Rivelli is based in Chicago, yet he picks this spot for this 2-year-old to make his debut. He also owns the colt and the sire Lewis Michael is 15% with first-time turfers. Rivelli is 27% with first-timers and gets Javier Casellano to ride. Play an exacta box with #8 FINNEGAN (6-5), who is supposed to be trainer Wesley Ward’s next big Ascot thing.
Race 3: #10 Chiropractor (7-2)
Trainer Tom Proctor is going to have a barn on the East Coast based near Pimlico and starts this Kitten’s Joy first-timer on the turf, where the sire is 17% first-time turf. One of Proctor’s West Coast jockeys, Drayden Van Dyke, rides, but they have been cold lately.
Race 6: #2 Hooligan (4-1)
Trainer Wesley Ward is almost an automatic play in a 5-furlong turf sprint and here he gets jockey John Velazquez aboard (22% together).
Race 9: #1 Bocaouva (8-1), #8 Watsdachances (6-1), #9 Token of Love (5-1).
One of the toughest races on the card, BOCAOUVA had a ton of trouble in her last race and drawing the No. 1 hole here is no bargain. Will use all three in all vertical bets.
Race 10: #7 Gimme Da Lute (3-1)
Trainer Bob Baffert is an amazing 39% with horses going sprint-route-sprint and that’s what this 3-year-old does after finishing third to Competitive Edge in the Pat Day Mile on Derby Day.
Race 12: #10 Manchurian High (turf only) (15-1)
Jockey Gary Stevens doesn’t need to ride every race so he must have gotten a good story on this gelding to ride for little-known trainer Lilli Kurtinecz. The 7-year-old has won twice over this Pimlico turf course and will be charging down the lane. He also comes out of a key race with three next out winners. This is one of tougher races on the card so go for a price.