Best Horse Racing Bets at Pimlico for May 15, 2021

| May 14, 2021 11:17 pm PDT

Pimlico is hosting 14 thoroughbred races, and all but four of them are stakes races. From ungraded stakes like the Sir Barton Stakes to top Grade I stakes races like the Preakness and the UAE President Cup Stakes, Pimlico proves it knows how to throw a party.

My picks for Saturday are for Preakness Stakes, the second jewel in the Triple Crown, and the other nine stakes races. That’s right, I have the picks for all ten of them.

The preponderance of morning line favorites among my choices reflects a significant number of horses racing in higher classes — ungraded and graded stakes races — and are now running against horses with good records. Still, in any case, that’s not enough to suggest they were stakes-race material.

Before we get rolling, remember to check out all the races at one of our recommended online racebooks.

Good luck!

My Pick for Race One — Sir Barton Stakes (Ungraded)

This is a 1-1/16 mile main track race for three-year-olds, and in this six-horse field, I’m going with the third-favored (at 5/1) The King Cheek.

This Jamie Ness-trained gelding finished in the money for five of his eight career starts, winning three.

Ness has been ranked among the top 100 trainers in both earnings and wins every year since 2008.

He’s brought in ace jockey Jaime Rodriquez for this run.

Sure, the morning line favorite, Hozier, had some hope of making it to the 2021 Kentucky Derby, but that single second-place finish in the Rebel Stakes didn’t give him enough points to get in the running at Churchill Downs. Also, The King Cheek has very competitive speed figures, in addition to having more experience winning.

My Pick for Race Three — Chick Lang Stakes (Grade III)

In this six-furlong main track run for three-year-olds, I’m sticking with the 4/5 morning line favorite, Jaxon Traveler, with Irad Ortiz, Jr. in the irons.

Steve Asmussen trained Jaxon Traveler for West Point Thoroughbreds and Marvin Delfiner. The colt has performed well for his teacher: Five money finishes in five career starts. Four of them wins, including the Maryland Juvenile Futurity (Black Type) at Laurel Park in December and the Bachelor Stakes (Listed) just last month at Oaklawn Park.

My Pick for Race Six — Gallorette Stakes (Grade III)

Switching to turf, we have a 1-1/16 mile grass run for fillies and mares three years old and upward. I’m betting on the 6/5 morning line favorite, Mean Mary.

Mean Mary is under training to H. Graham Motion for owner-breeder Alex G. Campbell, Jr. She has a great record:

Seven money finishes in nine career starts, with five wins, including the 2020 La Prevoyante Stakes (Grade III) and the 2020 Orchid Stakes (Grade III)—both at Gulfstream Park–and the 2020 New York Stakes (Grade II) at Belmont Park.

Motion has selected Luis Saez for this ride—an easy choice: Saez has ridden Mean Mary into the winner’s circle for all but her maiden victory.

My Pick for Race Eight — James W. Murphy Stakes (Listed)

This is another turf run, a one-miler for three-year-olds. I agree with the morning line here and bet on the 7/5 favorite, Outadore, ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr.

This Wesley Ward-trained colt has moneyed four of his five career starts, winning three–his maiden last July, the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint Stakes (Listed) last September, and the Animal Kingdom Stakes (Black Type) in March at Turfway Park.

Ortiz was aboard for Outadore’s maiden victory and his win in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint Stakes.

My Pick for Race Nine — Skipat Stakes (Listed)

Back on the main track, we’ve got a six-furlong run for fillies and mares three years old and upward. I’m not crazy—I’m betting on the undefeated 8/5 morning line favorite, Chub Wagon.

Chub Wagon won each of her five career starts, including Unique Bella Stakes (Black Type) at Parx Racing last month.

Not to brag, but I was touting Chub Wagon back when she wasn’t the morning-line fave.

Chub Wagon is under the tutelage of longtime trainer Guadalupe Preciado for owners Daniel J. Lopez and George Chestnut. Preciado has Irad Ortiz, Jr. in the irons for this run.

My Pick for Race Ten — Jim McKay Turf Sprint Stakes (Listed)

Quick switch to turf for a five-furlong race for three-year-olds and upward. This is one of the larger fields in the day’s racing schedule (13 horses), and I’m going with the second-favored (at 7/2) entry, Completed Pass.

This seven-year-old gelding finished in the money 15 of his 21 career starts, winning nine of them, including his most recent stakes run, the King T. Leatherbury Stakes (Black Type) at Pimlico in April.

Trainer Claudio A. Gonzalez, who was ranked last year in the top 20 trainers in both wins and earnings, has tapped veteran jockey Angel Cruz to pilot Completed Pass to the finish line.

Cruz was in the irons for Completed Pass’s most recent two-stakes wins.

My Pick for Race Eleven — Maryland Sprint Match Series Stakes (Grade III)

This is a six-furlong main track run for three-year-olds and upward. I’m not nearly as impressed with the morning line favorite as I should be, and I think there’s at least one better horse in this field: Laki, one of the fourth-favored entries (there are two at 6/1).

The eight-year-old gelding has moneyed 24 of his 33 career starts, winning 11 (which puts him statistically ahead of the morning line’s favorite). More impressive is the fact that Laki’s speed figures have been in the triple digits for all but three of his runs.

Trainer Damon R. Dilodovico has chosen Horacio Karamanos to jockey Laki for this race. Karamanos has been in the irons for Laki’s last eight starts, which included his win in the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash Stakes (Grade III) at Pimlico last October.

My Pick for Race Twelve — Dinner Party Stakes (Grade II)

We’re back on the grass for a 1-1/16 mile turf run for three-year-olds and upward. I’m buying a win ticket on the 7/5 morning line favorite, Sacred Life.

This six-year-old French import has a solid record: 13 money finishes in 17 career starts, with six wins, including the 2017 Prix Thomas Byron (Grade III) at Saint-Cloud Racecourse near Paris and Oceanport Stakes (Listed) at Monmouth Park last August.

Incidentally, there are no speed figures for him from his work on the Continent, but since he’s been in the U.S., he has yet to post one under three digits (eight starts).

Veteran Chad Brown has tagged Javier Castellano for this run.

My Pick for Race Thirteen — Preakness Stakes (Grade I)

And now the Preakness, a 1-3/16 mile main track endurance test for three-year-olds. While disputed 2021 KD winner Medina Spirit will be starting in this 147th running of the Preakness Stakes, Mandaloun placed second in the Derby and would be the beneficiary of the continuing investigation Medina Spirit’s positive drug test for anti-inflammatories—will not.

Medina Spirit’s trainer, Bob Baffert, has agreed to frequent drug tests and close observation as well as follow-up medical reviews to ensure that Medina Spirit makes it to the Preakness starting gate.

That said, I’m betting on Bob Baffert’s other horse in this race: The second-favored Concert Tour. This colt finished in the money for all four of his career starts, winning three of them, including the San Vicente Stakes (Grade II) at Santa Anita in February and the Rebel Stakes (Grade II) at Oaklawn Park in March.

Baffert has tapped veteran jockey Mike E. Smith for the run.

My Pick for Race Fourteen — UAE President Cup Stakes (Grade I)

This is a 1-1/16 mile main track stakes race for four-year-old Arabians only. My money is on the 8/5 morning line favorite, Paddys Day, with Ricardo Santana, Jr. in the irons.

This Ramon Davila Aguayo-trained ten-year-old moneyed 41 of his 50 career starts, winning 29 of them.

By the way, you should also keep an eye on the 10/1 fourth-favored entry, Quick Sand AA. Under training to Scott Lake, this eight-year-old moneyed 30 of his 33 career starts, winning 14.

Veteran jockey Roberto Alvarado Jr. is aboard Quick Sand AA, and I should point out that while he’s not ridden many Arabians, his percentage of wins aboard the ones he has ridden is through the roof (36%). I’m buying at least a show ticket on Quick Sand AA, if not betting him across the board.

J.W. Paine
J.W. Paine

J.W. Paine is one of the most experienced writers at He's written for television and the printed media, and is a published novelist (as Tom Elliott).

Paine loves writing about Las Vegas nearly as much he loves living here. An experienced gambler, he's especially familiar with thoroughbred horseracing, poker, blackjack, and slots.

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