While I usually handicap the stake on Saturdays, two potentially key players for this afternoon’s Primonetta are on the fence and may race elsewhere. So, following their lead, we’ll look elsewhere for our race o’ the day, specifically to the fourth race. It’s a second-level allowance test for older boys going 1 1/16 miles on the main track, and it’s attracted a good enough field of eight.
Jake’s Bandaid and Bailey’s Beach are 5-2 and 3-1, respectively, and both are certainly potential winners here. Jake’s Bandaid won at this level at Parx two back and was beaten less than two — by Bailey’s Beach — in his last after a wide trip. He’s won six of 18 at this distance. Bailey’s Beach, meanwhile, had a good trip in which he got the jump on the closers and passed the tiring frontrunners to earn the victory last out. After running for the tag in this optional claiming spot last time, he’s in for the condition today.
Piamento (4-1) — one of our first Race o’ the Day choices — has won two of three career starts and scratched out of a race yesterday to be here. This son of Awesome Again won a first-level allowance test last out at this distance, and the second, third, and fourth place finishers all returned victorious, with place horse Hi Ho Bambino crushing an allowance field yesterday. Just three races into his career, he has every right to continue to improve, and he’s had three works since that March 14 tilt.
Houston Bull (6-1) gacked at this level in his last, out of which he was claimed by Jamie Ness for $25,000. He’s won this race previously, but his last two starts are nothing to shout about. In his last, he sat a good trip but had nothing when the running started. Ness does improbably well with horses first off the claim, and this guy will need that magic to get back in the win photo.
Strangerinthenight (8-1) is another, like Piamento, working through his conditions. He crushed a first-level allowance group two back but had nothing to offer at this level in his most recent race. He also has the right to move forward, but after that last one, I’d be inclined to want to see more. Scorpion Strike (5-1) is a consistent hard-hitter, but I’m not sure he’s up to this challenge. Granted Ruler (12-1) was a beast back in 2010 before being injured, and his last was the best of his three since returning, but he still needs to show more to be anything other than a pace factor. And Mine Train (12-1) is a somewhat inconsistent sort who’s been away since late November. He’s had a couple of one-mile works in preparation, so he ought to be fit, and on best, he’s competitive here.
In allowance races, I’m always partial to horses working through their conditions, and at 4-1, we’ll have to take Piamento to get the money. I have a suspicion that Mine Train, who’s run well off the layoff previously, will fire again, and let’s look for Bailey’s Beach to round it out. On the other hand, I could see almost any of these winning, so add a grain of salt. Either way, look for 6-5-8, and good luck!
Pimlico introduces its new Players Jackpot Pick 5 today. It’s a 50-cent Pick 5 in which the whole pool pays only to a single, unique winning ticket. If there is no ticket with all five winners, or if there are multiple tickets with all five, 60 percent of the pool goes to the best tickets and 40 percent carries over. A lot of players don’t like these wagers, but I’m all for it because it builds some excitement and enthusiasm. Good luck!