Turf Season Kicked Off on Saturday’s Pimlico Program

Turf Season Kicked Off on Saturday’s Pimlico Program

Three Whips International Turf Series Races Highlight Day

BALTIMORE, MD., 04/11/15 --- The 2015 turf racing season got underway Saturday at Pimlico Race Course, where four races of nine races were conducted over the grass course, providing handicappers with full fields and highly competitive events.

The turf season was inaugurated in the third race, in which Blame Me ($6.20) prevailed over 11 rivals to graduate from the maiden ranks in his third career race and first on grass for trainer Dane Kobiskie and jockey Cecily Evans.

The Whips International Turf Starter Handicap Series got under way with a trio of $25,000 mile events in the fifth, seventh and eighth races. Cluain Meala ($13.60) was the beneficiary of a masterful ride from Forest Boyce to score a late-running victory by a head in the fifth race, beating 11 fillies and mares in 1:41.96. In the seventh race, Barney Rebel ($13.40) stalked the pace into the stretch under Sheldon Russell before launching a sustained stretch drive to win by a nose in 1:41.48. The Joseph Delozier III-trained gelding prevailed over 13 colts and geldings. Saturday’s Whips International action was closed out in the eighth race, won by Linda Gaudet-trained Annawon ($30.60), who beat 10 colts and geldings in 1:41.94 under jockey Jevian Toledo. The 8-year-old gelding employed an off-the-pace wide journey to score the victory. 

The Whips International Turf Starter Handicap Series will continue with the participants running 1 1/16 miles for $30,000 purses on May 2 and 1 1/8 miles for $35,000 purses on June 6.

Two turf races are slated for Sunday’s card, including the featured seventh race, a five-furlong $45,000 optional claiming allowance. Midwest Thoroughbreds’ Thisdanseistaken has been installed as the morning-line favorite in a field of nine fillies and mares on the strength of a 1 ¼-length victory in an optional claiming event over the Gulfstream Park turf course on March 18. Trainer Jamie Ness has named Trevor McCarthy to ride the 6-year-old mare.

The last race on the nine-race program is scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on turf for 12 maiden fillies and mares.