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Cordmaker Making Return Trip to Historic Pimlico Special (G3)
Shorter Races Ahead for Stakes Winner Maythehorsebwithu
Juror Number Four Possible for Miss Preakness (G3) May 1
Out of Sorts May Make Season, Turf Debut in $100,000 Hilltop
BALTIMORE – Hillwood Stable’s multiple stakes winner Cordmaker, third in each of the past two years, is headed for a third straight trip to the historic $250,000 Pimlico Special (G3) May 14 at Pimlico Race Course.
Trainer Rodney Jenkins said Monday that plans call for the gelded 6-year-old son of two-time Horse of the Year and 2014 Hall of Famer Curlin to make his 29th career start in the 1 3/16-mile Special on the undercard of the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2).
“We’re going to give it a shot. He’s run great the past two years,” Jenkins said. “We’re going to give it a chance to see if we can be something besides third this time.”
Bred in Maryland by the late Bob Manfuso and trainer Katy Voss, Cordmaker was beaten two necks when third behind Tenfold and You’re To Blame in the 2019 Special. Harpers First Ride was a two-length winner in 2020 when the race was delayed from mid-May to early October amid the coronavirus pandemic, with Cordmaker a half-length behind runner-up Owendale.
Last year’s Special came during a career-long winless drought for Cordmaker of 10 races spanning more than 17 months. Second or third in six of those starts, all of them in stakes, he returned to the winner’s circle with a front-running one-length triumph in the 1 1/8-mile Harrison E. Johnson Memorial March 13 at Laurel Park.
“It had to be good for him because it got him more confidence. He ran a really nice race,” Jenkins said. “We hope between that and the way he’s been training that he’s up to this.”
Cordmaker has breezed twice since the Johnson, both times bullet five-furlong moves at Pimlico. He went in 1:00.20 April 18, the fastest of 33 horses, and returned to go in 59.40 seconds April 27, the best of 15 horses.
“He’s doing really well. The horse is probably has never done better in his life than he’s doing now,” Jenkins said. “He seems to be interested in everything. We took him to Pimlico to work him and he worked good there, so I hope he runs as good as he’s training.”
Purchased for $150,000 as yearling in 2016, Cordmaker has nine wins, four seconds and six thirds with purse earnings of $588,640. He won the Jennings for Maryland-bred/sired horses as a 3-year-old in 2018 and the Johnson and Polynesian at Laurel and DTHA Governors Day Handicap in 2019 at Delaware Park.
The Pimlico Special for 3-year-olds and up was created in 1937 by Alfred Vanderbilt, the master of Sagamore Farm, as the first major stakes in the United States set up as an invitational, and was won by Triple Crown champion War Admiral. The following year, War Admiral was upset by Seabiscuit in what Sports Illustrated has called the “Race of the Century.”
Revived in 1988 by the late Maryland Jockey Club president Frank J. De Francis, the Special’s illustrious roster of winners also includes Triple Crown winners Whirlaway, Citation and Assault and modern-day Horses of the Year Criminal Type, Cigar, Skip Away, Mineshaft and Invasor.
A total of 16 stakes, 10 graded, worth $3.25 million in purses will be contested over Preakness weekend, May 14-15, at Pimlico, highlighted by the 146th running of the $1 million Preakness Stakes (G1), Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.
Notes: Five Hellions Farm’s multiple stakes-winning filly Dontletsweetfoolya, unraced since finishing seventh in the Runhappy Barbara Fritchie (G3) Feb. 20 at Laurel Park, breezed a half-mile in 51.40 seconds Monday at Delaware Park for trainer Lacey Gaudet. The $100,000 Runhappy Skipat for fillies and mares 3 and up sprinting six furlongs is a possibility… Monday’s work tab at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md. included Alex G. Campbell’s multiple graded-stakes winner Mean Mary, seven furlongs in 1:23.60 over the all-weather surface. The 5-year-old mare’s seasonal debut could come in the $150,000 Gallorette (G3) on turf as part of the Preakness undercard May 15.
Shorter Races Ahead for Stakes Winner Maythehorsebwithu
Michael Dubb and Bethlehem Stables’ stakes winner Maythehorsebwithu, fifth as the second choice in the 1 1/8-mile Federico Tesio April 24 at Laurel Park, will cut back in distance when he returns to the races off a brief freshening.
Trainer Brittany Russell said at Pimlico Race Course earlier this week that Maythehorsebwithu, winner of the one-mile Miracle Wood Feb. 20 and second in the 1 1/16-mile Private Terms March 13 in his two-turn debut, exited the Tesio in good order.
A late nominee to the Triple Crown at a cost of $6,000, Maythehorsebwithu would have earned an automatic berth in the 1 3/16-mile Preakness Stakes (G1) May 15 at Pimlico with a victory in the Tesio.
The Tesio was only the second time in nine career starts that Maythehorsebwithu has finished worse than third, with three wins and four seconds. Two of his runner-up finishes came in stakes – the Jan. 16 Spectacular Bid at Laurel and First State Dash last fall at Delaware Park.
“He’s good. I’m just letting him kind of catch his breath right now,” Russell said. “We’re just going to regroup and find something a little shorter for him.”
Russell said she will have several nominees for stakes over Preakness weekend, a collection of 16 stakes, 10 graded, worth $3.25 million in purses May 14-15. Among them are 3-year-old fillies Juror Number Four for the $150,000 Miss Preakness (G3) sprinting six furlongs on dirt and Out of Sorts for the $100,000 Hilltop going a mile on turf.
Cash is King and LC Racing’s Maryland-bred Juror Number Four won two of five starts at 2, finishing second to multiple stakes winner Street Lute in the Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship in December. In her lone start this year, the daughter of Into Mischief ran a troubled second as the favorite in a six-furlong allowance April 23 at Pimlico.
“She’s a nice filly. The goal was to stretch her out eventually but she hasn’t really done anything wrong sprinting, either, so it just seems like a good next step,” Russell said. “Last time we ran her she really only got to run the last eighth of a mile. She was just in traffic the whole way and got really unlucky. The winner got loose on the lead, so maybe it sets up different for her on a big day.”
Respect the Valleys’ Out of Sorts has yet to make her turf and 3-year-old debut following four races at 2. She debuted running fourth in a maiden special weight last September at Pimlico, before winning a similar spot Nov. 1 at Laurel. From there, she ran second in the Nov. 14 Smart Halo and third in the Dec. 26 Gin Talking, both to Street Lute.
Out of Sorts breezed four furlongs in 48.40 seconds May 1 over Pimlico’s main track, third-fastest of 29 horses.
“She’s great. She hasn’t missed a beat since she’s been back. We just sort of freshened her up after that last one. We kind of didn’t know what to do with her for the winter, anyway, so we thought it’s a good time to give her a break,” Russell said. “We kind of always thought after she broke her maiden on the slop that we would try the turf one day, and stretch her out. Sheldon thinks that she’ll sit nicely going two turns, so we’ll find out.”
Madaket Stables, Albert Frassetto, Mark Parkinson, K-Mac Stable and Magic City Stables’ multiple stakes winner Hello Beautiful has rejoined Russell’s string at Pimlico after a stay with trainer Bruce Jackson at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md. The 4-year-old filly was most recently fifth in the Runhappy Barbara Fritchie (G3) Feb. 20 at Laurel.
“She’s here. She’s been back a couple weeks. Maybe if everything goes right this week she’ll work this weekend,” Russell said. “We’re probably not going to think about the Skipat and probably point more for the next race. But, she’s back and she’s doing well.”
The $100,000 Runhappy Skipat for fillies and mares 3 and up sprinting six furlongs will be run May 15 on the Preakness undercard.