Top Horse Racing Picks for Saturday, May 21, 2022

| May 19, 2022 11:40 am PDT

My Saturday picks are all about the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico, plus nine other horse races, including a Grade I Arabian stakes race, the UAE President Cup Stakes.

With that much primo horse racing to prognosticate, we’d better get right to it, eh?

Oh, one last thing: Don’t forget to check out Pimlico’s full Saturday race card at one of our Preakness Stakes betting sites.

Good luck!

Saturday’s Horse Racing Picks for Pimlico Race Course

The ten stakes races on the 14-race card at Pimlico Saturday run the gamut from ungraded sweepstakes like the Skipat to the Grade I Preakness Stakes. The track is also hosting the UAE President Cup Stakes (Grade I) for Arabian four-year-olds.

Race four — Maryland Sprint Stakes

This is a $150,000 purse, six-furlong dirt track race for three-year-olds and upward. I’m buying a win ticket on one of the second-favored entries (there are two at 3/1 in this race)—Jaxon Traveler, ridden by Joel Rosario.

This four-year-old dark bay colt doesn’t know how to quit—he’s moneyed 14 of his 15 career starts, five of those wins, including the Bachelor Stakes (Listed) at Oaklawn Park in April 2021 and the Star De Naskra Stakes (Black Type) the following August here at Pimlico.

He notably finished second in last year’s Chick Lang Stakes (Grade III) here at Pimlico and third in last year’s Quick Call Stakes (Grade III). His recent speed figures say he’s never been faster.

Longtime horse racing veteran and hall of famer Steven M. Asmussen trains Jaxon Traveler for owners West Point Thoroughbreds and Marvin Delfiner.

Race five — Gallorette Stakes (Grade III)

This is a $150,000 purse, 1-1/16 miles race on the turf course for fillies and mares three years old and upward. There’s plenty of speed in this seven-horse field, but I’m sticking with the 7/5 morning-line favorite, Technical Analysis, piloted by Jose L. Ortiz.

This bay three-year-old filly finished in the money for seven of her eight career starts, winning four. Two of those wins were the Lake George Stakes (Grade III) last July and the Lake Placid Stakes (Grade II) last August, both at Saratoga.

Speed figures for her most recent four races were in the triple digits. She’s got this.

Breeders’ Cup veteran Chad C. Brown trains Technical Analysis for Klaravich Stables, Inc.

Race seven — Skipat Stakes

This is a $100,000 purse, six-furlong dirt track run for fillies and mares three years old and upward. While I think the 4/1 underdog Fille d’Esprit with Xavier Perez aboard will present serious challenge in this race, I’m betting on the 7/2 morning-line favorite, Cilla, with Tyler Gaffalione in the irons.

The four-year-old bay filly finished eleven of her 15 career starts in the money, winning seven. Her two most recent wins were the Orleans Stakes (Black Type) in January and the LA Bred Premier Matron Stakes (Black Type) in February, both at Delta Downs.

Cilla also won the Prioress Stakes (Grade II) at Saratoga last September.

Thirty-year horse racing veteran Brett A. Brinkman trains Cilla for owner P. Dale Ladner.

Race eight —Dinner Party Stakes (Grade II)

This is a $250,000 purse, 1-1/16 miles race on the turf for three-year-olds and upward. I’m backing the horse that bested the favorite just last month in the Makers’ Mark Mile Stakes (Grade I): the 5/2 underdog Atone, with top jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. aboard.

This five-year-old gelding finished in the money nine of his 16 career starts, winning five. He finished fourth in the Makers’ Mark Mile Stakes in April, while the favorite in this race—Set Piece—finished seventh.

Atone has already proven he can run faster than Set Piece, so we don’t really need a Magic 8-Ball to tell us he can do it again.

Ranked among the top 100 in both earnings and wins for the last 15 years (often in the top ten), Michael J. Maker trains Atone for Three Diamonds Farm.

Race nine — Chick Lang Stakes (Grade III)

This is a $200,000 purse, six-furlongs dirt track race for three-year-olds. I have to agree with the morning-line on this one: Bet the 2/1 favorite, Old Homestead, ridden by veteran jockey Thomas L. Pompell.

In a talented nine-horse field, this bay colt is a real standout, winning all three of his career starts, including the Lafayette Stakes (Black Type) at Keeneland last month.

Brett A. Brinkman trains Old Homestead for co-owners/breeders Marablue Farm LLC and Pegasus Stud LLC.

Race ten —James W. Murphy Stakes

This is a $100,000 purse, one-mile turf run for three-year-olds. I’m betting my two dollars on the 3/1 underdog, Joe, with Victor R. Carrasco in the irons.

This bay colt finished in the money five of his six career starts, winning four, including the Maryland Juvenile Championship Stakes (Black Type) in December and the Federico Tesio Stakes (Black Type) last month, both at Laurel Park.

He also finished second in the Private Terms Stakes (Black Type) in March, also at Laurel Park.

With more than three decades in the horse racing business, Michael J. Trombetta trains Joe for owner-breeder The Elkstone Group, LLC (Stuart Grant).

Race eleven — Sir Barton Stakes

This is a $100,000 purse, 1-1/16 miles dirt track race for three-year-old non-winners of an open stakes race. I like the second-favored (at 3/1) Ethereal Road, piloted by top jockey Luis Saez.

This bay colt is the best this ten-horse field has to offer, with three money finishes in his seven career starts, winning one.

What impresses me most are the races he didn’t win: He finished second in the Rebel Stakes (Grade II) in February at Oaklawn and fourth in the Stonestreet Lexington Stakes (Gr. 3) in April at Keeneland.

D. Wayne Lukas trains Ethereal Road for owner Aaron Sones.

Race twelve —Jim McKay Turf Sprint Stakes

This is a $100,000 purse five-furlongs turf course race for three-year-olds and upward. My money’s on the 6/1 underdog, Hollis, with Reylu Gutierrez aboard.

This seven-year-old bay gelding has a better overall record than the morning-line favorite: 16 money finishes in 25 career starts, ten of them wins.

One of those wins was the 2020 Jim McKay Turf Sprint Stakes. Sure, he didn’t fare so well in the 2021 edition of the McKay, finishing seventh of 13. But he redeemed himself with a fourth in the Whitmore Stakes (Grade III) at Oaklawn in March.

John Alexander Ortiz trains Hollis for owners WSS Racing, LLC and 4 G Racing, LLC.

Race thirteen  — Preakness Stakes (Grade I)

This is a $1,500,000 purse, 1-3/16 miles dirt track race for three-year-olds. It is the 147th running of what is now considered the second jewel in the Triple Crown of US thoroughbred racing.

I see history in the making here, and I’m going against my own earlier judgement and betting the third-favored (at 9/2) Secret Oath, piloted by Luis Saez.

This chestnut filly has a better record than the favorite, Epicenter. She moneyed seven of her eight career starts, winning five, including the Kentucky Oaks earlier this month.

If Secret Oath does what I think she can do, she’ll be only the seventh filly to win the Preakness in its 147-year history.

With nearly five decades in the horse racing business, D. Wayne Lukas trains Secret Oath for Briland Farm.

Race fourteen — UAE President Cup Stakes (Grade I)

This is a $100,000 purse, 1-1/16 miles dirt track race for Arabian four-year-olds and upward. I’m buying a win ticket on the second-favored (at 5/2) Quick Sand AA, ridden by Joseph Trejos.

This nine-year-old finished in the money 35 of his 38 career starts—nearly three-quarters of which have been stakes races. He’s won 16 of them, including the President of the United Arab Emirates Cup Stakes (Grade I) at Churchill Downs in 2018.

Quick Sand AA hasn’t fared so well in the UAE President Cup Stakes. He pulled a fifth in the 2020 edition of the UAE President Cup, then finished third in the 2021 edition. This is his year.

With 25 years in the business of conditioning both thoroughbreds and Arabians, Jerenesto Torrez trains Quick Sand AA for owners-breeders Betty J. and Joseph A. Gillis.

Preakness upsets aren’t so rare. Be sure to take a look at some of the most surprising:

Analyzing the Top Upsets in Preakness Stakes History

Horse racing upsets have always been some of the most exciting moments to witness in sports. It’s incredible to see a horse be a longshot to win and defy the odds. There have been a lot of established horses over the years, but they couldn’t live...

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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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