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Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 2 Dixie Stakes is on tap for this Saturday, May 18 from Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland as part of the Preakness Stakes undercard. Horses three years old and upward will be after the winner's share of the $300,000 purse when they go 1 1/8 miles on Pimlico's turf track.
A large field of 13 will line up in the Dixie - race 11 on Pimilco's Preakness Saturday card. Post time is 5:25 PM. Let's take a look at the credentials of all 13 entries for the Grade 2 stakes immediately preceding the Preakness.
Optimizer - finished eleventh in last year's Kentucky Derby, sixth in the Preakness and tenth in the Belmont Stakes and finished the fourth in the Grade 2 Virginia Derby after that. He won the Grade 3 Kent Stakes at Delaware Park and an Allowance Optional Claiming and went on to a disappointing eleventh in the Breeders' Cup. In 2013 he won the Grade 2 Colonel E.R. Bradley Handicap and the Grade 3 Fair Grounds Handicap February 23. He was second last time out in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs May 4 - beaten by only reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan but before that was fourth in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap April 13 and fifth in the Grade 2 Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Handicap March 30. He is the morning line favorite and since his move to turf has looked very dangerous indeed.
Swift Warrior - Had an incredible win last time out in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Stakes February 16 to follow a very nice win in the Grade 3 John B. Connally Turf Cup at Sam Houston January 26 in wire-to-wire fashion and an OK fourth in the Grade 3 River City Handicap November 25 at Churchill Downs. He has won three of his last five starts including two of the graded stakes variety this year, is the high weight in the field and looks like a serious threat in the Dixie.
Imagining - won two straight races last summer - both at Pimlico Race Course including an Allowance Optional Claiming and an Allowance after a very good second in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby in November 2011. He was out of racing for nine months before returning to an Allowance score at Keeneland April 13. He has four wins and three second place finishes in nine career starts for trainer Claude McGaughey.
Doubles Partner - Todd Pletcher trained Doubles Partner raced to a pair of fourths in Grade 1 races last year - in the Woodford Turf Classic in May and the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland October 6 and then placed in his next three starts - a third in the Grade 2 Citation Handicap in November, a second in the minor Sunshine Millions Turf Stakes and a good second in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Stakes February 16. Last time out was a disappointing fourth in the Grade 2 Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Handicap at Fair Grounds March 30. He is another entry that has proven competitive and could emerge in this race.
Willcox Inn - finished a good second in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf October 6 but followed that with a ninth in the Breeders' Cup Mile. Since then he has been good - a third in the Grade 3 John B. Connally Turf Cup Stakes in January was followed by a fourth in the Grade 3 Fair Grounds Handicap and a second last time out in the Grade 2 Mervin H. Muniz March 30 at Fair Grounds. Willcox Inn has five wins, three seconds and three third place finishes in 17 career starts for trainer Michael Stidham and appears in good form ahead of the Dixie.
Skyring - D. Wayne Lukas trained colt finished fourth last time out in the Grade 1 Maker's 46 Mile at Keeneland April 12 behind Wise Dan - his first graded stakes race since November 25 which resulted in a decent third in the Grade 3 River City Handicap at Churchill Downs. He raced three minor stakes races the past winter - a fourth in the Buddy Diliberto Memorial Handicap at Fair Grounds in December, a second in the Fifth Season Stakes at Oaklawn in January and a fifth in the Essex Handicap at Oaklawn February 2. He has just three wins in 19 career starts - the last coming in the minor James W. Murphy Stakes back in May last year. Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens gets the mount.
Dixie Stakes betting at Pimlico Race Course with OffTrackBetting.com
Howe Great - He had an impressive streak of four straight wins interrupted with a fifth in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland last April and had some good results after that. In September Howe Great was a very good second in the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby but he stumbled to a pair of sevenths - in the Grade 1 Jamaica Handicap at Pimlico Race Course October 6 and in the Grade 3 Canadian Turf Stakes at Gulfstream February 23. Last time out was an Allowance score at Keeneland April 6.
Two Months Rent - made a name for himself with a win in the Grade 3 Hawthorne Derby in October and has been up and down in three starts since. He was twelfth in the Grade 3 Commonwealth Turf Stakes in November and OK third in the Grade 3 Fair Grounds Handicap in February but was sixth last time out in the Grade 2 Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Handicap March 30 at Fair Grounds.
Forte Dei Marmi - had a pair of thirds this past winter - the Grade 1 Pattison International in October and in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer behind Wigmore Hall and Al Khali to follow an impressive win in the Grade 2 Sky Classic Stakes on August 19. He hasn't been the same since however - an eighth in the Grade 2 W.L. McKnight Handicap in November was followed by a distant seventh in an Allowance April 6 and an ugly eleventh last time out in the Grade 2 Elkhorn Stakes at Keeneland April 26. Forte Dei Marmi has been inconsistent to say the least and is currently not in the best of form.
Utley - had just one win in nine starts overseas before debuting in North America with an Allowance score at Gulfstream in January 2012. Since that time he has had three wins and three fifth place finishes. His only stakes action resulted in a pair of fifths at Delaware Park in the summer. He enters the Dixie on a two race win streak - an Allowance at Keeneland April 14 after a seven month layoff and an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Laurel Park.
See Tobe - Finished a good second in the Grade 3 Knickerbocker Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in October and followed that with a second in the minor Laurel Turf Cup in October. He was seventh in the minor If Winter Comes Stakes to finish off 2012 and has raced to a pair of fifths in 2013 - the Henry S. Clark Stake April 20 and an Allowance a week later - both at Pimlico.
Humble and Hungry - finished second in this race last year and has only two starts since - an ugly eighth in June in the minor Colonial Turf Cup Stakes and then a 10 month layoff. He returned April 21 to a sixth in an Allowance at Keeneland.
Thunder Lord - makes his graded stakes debut Saturday having placed in four of his last five starts - all Allowance races. He is coming off a third at Pimlico April 18 after a second at Mountaineer March 18.
Race 11 on Pimlico Race Course's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:25 PM.
|1||Willcox Inn||J. Graham||M. Stidham|
|2||Optimizer||J. Rosario||D. Lukas|
|3||Utley||E. Prado||J. Sheppard|
|4||Imagining||J. Castellano||C. McGaughey III|
|5||Doubles Partner||J. Leparoux||T. Pletcher|
|6||Thunder Lord||C. Marquez, Jr.||J. Corrales|
|7||Howe Great||A. Garcia||H. Motion|
|8||See Tobe||J. Pimentel||G. Capuano|
|9||Swift Warrior||R. Napravnik||J. Terranova, II|
|10||Skyring||G. Stevens||D. Lukas|
|11||Humble and Hungry||M. Smith||I. Correas, IV|
|12||Two Months Rent||A. Serpa||J. Toner|
|13||Forte Dei Marmi (GB)||J. Velazquez||R. Attfield|
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