February 24, 2024

Tenfold looks to maintain strong Pimlico form in Special title defense

Tenfold and Richard Santana Jr. (white cap) win the Pimlico Special (G3) over You're to Blame under jockey Jose Ortiz at Pimlico on May 17, 2019 (c) Horsephotos.com/Cecilia Gustavsson

Tenfold had a great trip but Owendale not so much the last time the two respectively set foot on the main track at Pimlico. On Friday, the pair headline the $250,000 Pimlico Special (G3), shortened this year from 1 1/4 miles to its traditional 1 3/16-mile distance.

The defending titlist in the Special, Tenfold lagged near the back in last year’s running but progressed nicely through the congested field of 13 while saving ground much of the way. It was an effort similar in quality to his close third-place finish behind Triple Crown winner Justify in the 2018 Preakness (G1). The downside is that the son of Curlin has been unplaced in eight of nine starts since the 2019 Special.

“For one reason or another, he seems to put out some of his best efforts at Pimlico,” said David Fiske, racing manager for owner Winchell Thoroughbreds.

Owendale competed in the Preakness last year, rallying to finish third after making a seven-wide bid in upper stretch. However, it wasn’t the way to win as War of Will turned a ground-saving journey into a classic victory. Owendale has enjoyed far greater success than Tenfold since then, though, winning three stakes and placing in tougher spots like Clark (G1) and Alysheba (G2).

The 7-year-old Someday Jones appears fast enough to make an impact with his best, and could strip fitter after a last-out second in the Storm Cat S. at Parx for Pennsylvania-breds after a brief layoff.

“The last race just didn’t set up for him. The winner just got loose on the lead and really controlled the pace, and he made a nice run at him through the stretch and just couldn’t make up any ground on him,” trainer John Servis said. “He’s coming into this race really good.”

Locally-based runners could make a bigger splash than usual in this year’s Special. Cordmaker, who missed by a half-length to Tenfold last season, exits a second-place effort to Harpers First Ride in the Deputed Testamony S. at Laurel.