June 24, 2024

Threat of rain could impact Preakness Day grass stakes

Emmanuel wired his turf debut in the Pennine Ridge Stakes (Photo by Coglianese Photos)

A midweek forecast that called for a 90% chance of rain on Saturday could wreak havoc on the plethora of grass stakes scheduled for Preakness Day at Pimlico.

The most lucrative of the features is the $500,000 Dinner Party (G3), which has been restored to its previous distance of 1 1/8 miles after being run at 1 1/16 miles for the last decade. Multiple graded winner Emmanuel, a close third in the 2023 Dinner Party, has been as effective on ground rated lower than firm, which could open the door for the likes of Fair Grounds (G3) winner Beatbox.

The field also includes up-and-comers Running Bee and Funtastic Again, as well as Grade 1 veterans Highland Chief, Atone, and Adhamo.

The $100,000 Gallorette (G3), for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on the turf, figures to have a strong favorite in Fluffy Socks, the hard-knocking Chad Brown-trained six-year-old who narrowly missed Grade 1 glory last fall in the Matriarch (G1) at Del Mar.

Other stakes scheduled for the grass are the $100,000 James W. Murphy S. for three-year-olds at one mile, and the $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint over five furlongs. Abrumar and Twirling Point might be the horses to beat if the Murphy stays on the grass, while Copper Tax, Speedyness, and Lucky Jeremy will be imposing if it’s shifted to the main track. The Turf Sprint field is led by last year’s winner Beer Can Man.

A solid field of seven will dash six furlongs on the main track in the $100,000 Maryland Sprint (G3). The field includes Jaxon Traveler, the 2022 Maryland Sprint winner; fellow Grade 3 scorers Super Chow and Prevalence; and Coastal Mission and Prince of Jericho, the recent one-two finishers in the Frank Whiteley S. at Laurel.

The $100,000 Skipat S. for fillies and mares at six furlongs is headed by Barbara Fritchie (G3) heroine Apple Picker and Primonetta S. winner Disco Ebo, while Keeneland allowance scorer Mr Skylight looms a threat in his stakes debut against fellow three-year-olds in the $200,000 Chick Lang (G3) over the same distance. The $100,000 Sir Barton S., a 1 1/16-mile affair for non-open stakes-winning three-year-olds, figures to have Tuscan Sky and Corporate Power as betting market leaders.