April 24, 2024

Last Judgment rolls in Pimlico Special; Spice Is Nice breaks through in Allaire duPont

Last Judgement wins the Pimlico Special S. 2021
Last Judgement wins the 2021 Pimlico Special S. (Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club)

Six stakes were offered on Friday’s Black-Eyed Susan undercard at Pimlico, including the Pimlico Special (G3) and Allaire DuPont Distaff (G3) for older horses on the main track.

Pimlico Special (G3)

Last Judgment seized the initiative at the break, sprinting clear from his far outside post, and comfortably led wire-to-wire in the $250,000 Pimlico Special (G3). Jose Ortiz was up on the five-year-old gelding for owners Michael Dubb, Steve Hornstock, Bethlehem Stable, and Nice Guys Stable.

Claimed for $62,500 at Belmont Park last October, Last Judgment is the latest reformed claimer to turn into a multiple graded stakes winner for trainer Mike Maker, who also saddled Army Wife to a victory in the Black-Eyed Susan S. (G2) one race later.

Winner of the Challenger S. (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs in early March, Last Judgment was exiting a runner-up in the March 27 Ghostzapper S. (G3) at Gulfstream Park. The Florida-bred bay also captured the restricted Sunshine Classic S. in mid-January. He’s earned $502,965 from an 18-8-1-1 record.

Off as the 49-10 second choice, Last Judgment registered fractions in :23.83, :47.60, and 1:11.54 before widening his advantage into the stretch. He cruised to a 1 3/4-length decision, completing the 1 3/16-mile journey in 1:54.37.

“Fabulous (claim) by these guys (co-owners Steve Hornstock and Steve Spielman),” Maker said. “He’s run well for us going a mile and an eighth. I was glad to stretch him out and hoped to get a softer pace going longer. I was a little concerned about the outside post, but he doesn’t care for the dirt in his face, so he was going to be in the clear anyway.”

“It was a nice job by Mike,” Ortiz added. “He had him ready. “The horse relaxed well. When I asked him he was there for me. That’s all you can ask for.”

Modernist, the 6-1 third choice, outfinished 11-10 favorite Fearless by a neck for second. It was another 4 1/4-length gap to Cordmaker in fourth. Prioritize, Max Player, Treasure Trove, Forewarned, Enforceable, and Harpers First Ride completed the order.

Bred by Woodford Thoroughbreds, Last Judgment is a son of Congrats. He’s out of the Forestry mare Fantasy Forest.

Maker was asked what’s next for Last Judgment.

“To be honest, I’ve never really thought about anything further than today. But with a nice horse, you always have a lot of options.”

Allaire DuPont Distaff (G3)

Lawana and Robert Low’s Spice Is Nice registered her first stakes win in the $150,000 Allaire DuPont Distaff (G3), drawing away to a 1 1/2-length decision.

John Velazquez was up for Todd Pletcher on the four-year-old filly, who pressed the pace in second before gaining the upperhand in the stretch. She completed the 1 1/8-mile distance in 1:48.71.

Spice Is Nice left the starting gate as the 23-10 second choice among eight rivals.

Pacesetter Dreamalildreamofu showed the way on a short lead through opening splits in :23.54 and :47.62, and she dug in gamely when coming under serious pressure on the far turn. But Spice Is Nice proved too good in the final sixteenth of a mile.

“We talked about it with Todd,” Velazquez said of his trip. “There didn’t seem like a lot of speed…She was doing it comfortably, so I was pleased the way she was doing it. She’s not used to being that close and then on the lead. She was waiting for the competition to come to her. So she kind of fooled with the horse inside of her, but she was waiting.”

Spice Is Nice was exiting a convincing allowance tally at Keeneland on April 9, her first start since an unplaced finish in the Alabama S. (G1) last August. She made three stakes attempts last season, including a runner-up effort in the Davona Dale (G2) at Gulfstream Park.

“We always liked this filly since she was very young,” Velazquez said. “She’s a big filly. She’s kind of come back better this year. She’s stronger mentally and kind of put it all together.”

Spice Is Nice increased her bankroll to $254,528 from a 7-4-1-0 ledger.

Dreamalildreamofu easily held second at 10-1, two lengths better than 7-1 Getridwhatailesu. It was another length to 8-5 favorite Horologist, who was followed by Landing Zone, Mrs. Danvers, Another Broad, and Lucky Stride.

By Curlin, Spice Is Nice sold for $1.05 million as a yearling at the 2018 Keeneland September sale. The chestnut is out of the Grade 1-winning Bernardini mare Dame Dorothy, a half-sister to multiple Grade/Group 1 winner Mrs. Lindsay. Spice Is Nice was bred in Kentucky by Bobby Flay Thoroughbreds.

“She’s a filly we’ve always thought a lot of,” Pletcher said. “I trained her mother. She’s a big strong filly that took a little time to get it all together. After the Alabama last year, she just lost some weight and we needed to regroup and gave her some time off. It seems like it has paid dividends.”