December 5, 2023

Dinner Party attracts field of eight; Mean Mary returns in Gallorette

Mean Mary wired the La Prevoyante in her stakes debut (Zoe Metz/Coglianese Photos)

Dinner Party S. (G2) — Race 12 (5:38 p.m. ET)

The lightly-raced Kuramata might punch above his weight when the Chad Brown trainee tackles stakes company for the first time in Saturday’s $250,000 Dinner Party S. (G2) at Pimlico over 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

Exiting maiden and allowance wins in his only two turf appearances so far, Kuramata has the pedigree to be something special. By Australia, he’s out of a half-sister to French 1000 Guineas (G1) winner Beauty Parlour, who in turn produced recent Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2) winner Blowout. Kuramata’s third dam reared dual Australian Horse of the Year Might and Power.

Brown also saddles Sacred Life, recently third behind stablemate Raging Bull in the Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) at Keeneland.

Grade 2 victor Somelikeithotbrown was second to Factor This in last October’s renewal of the Dinner Party, but will have to show much more than he has of late following unplaced finishes in the Ft. Lauderdale (G2) and Maker’s Mark Mile.

The graded veterans English Bee and Bye Bye Melvin have both fared well over the Pimlico turf for Graham Motion, while Flying Scotsman figures to set a strong early tempo. Talk Or Listen and Midnight Tea Time have threatened more than delivered in prior attempts at or around this level.

Gallorette S. (G3) — Race 6 (1:28 p.m. ET)

Though not reflected in a seventh-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) when last seen, Mean Mary was one of the East Coast’s top turf fillies last season. The five-year-old will kick off her 2021 campaign in the $150,000 Gallorette S. (G3) over 1 1/16 miles for trainer Graham Motion.

Excelling over 1 1/4 miles and further when taking the New York (G2), Orchid (G3), and La Prevoyante (G3) last term, Mean Mary’s speed also proved effective in shorter races such as the Diana (G1), which she narrowly lost to eventual division titlist Rushing Fall by a neck after a stretch-long duel.

Chad Brown, who’s trained three Gallorette winners in the past, is represented by Flighty Lady and Great Island. Group 1-placed in France prior to her importation, Flighty Lady was an odds-on winner of her U.S. debut at Aqueduct last month against entry-level allowance company. Great Island, who ran second to Mean Mary in her career debut in October 2019, exits a game win in an off-the-turf renewal of the Suwannee River S. at Gulfstream.

The stakes-winning Vigilantes Way has twice placed on the Pimlico turf, in the Hilltop S. last October and in the Dahlia S. last month, and gets Jose Ortiz in the saddle on Saturday. Feel Glorious is a four-time stakes winner who’s fallen a little short in previous graded attempts.

Jim McKay Turf Sprint — Race 10 (4:05 p.m. ET)

Hollis edged Completed Pass by a neck in the $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint when the five-furlong dash was last run in October, but Completed Pass is likely to be favored in their rematch after the latter’s solid, season-debut victory in the King Leatherbury S. over the course and distance three weeks ago.

Other leading contenders include The Critical Way, who defeated Imprimis in the Turf Dash at Tampa Bay Downs in February and was most recently third in the Shakertown (G2) at Keeneland. Boldor, a multiple stakes winner on dirt, exits a second-place finish over the Keeneland turf in a conditioned allowance for Steve Asmussen.

James W. Murphy S. — Race 8 (2:45 p.m. ET)

Outadore, third in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), will try again to stretch his speed a full mile as the leading prospect in the $100,000 James W. Murphy S. for three-year-olds. The Wesley Ward trainee has twice won stakes over 6 1/2 furlongs, in the Juvenile Turf Sprint at Kentucky Downs in September and the Animal Kingdom S. over the Turfway Park’s Tapeta surface on Mar. 27.

The main challenge might come from T D Dance, who disappointed in his stakes debut at Fair Grounds in February but otherwise has been a gem of consistency so far in overnight company.