PIMLICO SPECIAL STAKES | PURSE: $300,000 | 3-YEAR-OLDS & UP | GRADE 3 | 1 3/16 MILES
WinStar Farm's Revolutionary, far back early through a heated pace, kicked into gear and circled his eight foes to win the $300,000 Pimlico Special by a neck at Pimlico Race Course May 16.
It was the second consecutive big effort by Todd Pletcher-trained Revolutionary, who in his previous start April 12 rallied despite trouble to finish three-quarters of a length behind the victorious Will Take Charge in the Oaklawn Handicap.
A 4-year-old colt by War Pass out of the A.P. Indy mare Runup the Colors, Revolutionary was bred in Kentucky by W.S. Farish. WinStar purchased the colt for $235,000 at the 2012 Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. March sale of selected 2-year-olds in training.
The pace in the Pimlico Special, run on a fast track, was set by Valid, who broke from the inside post and was hounded by Moreno for at least seven furlongs in the 1 3/16-mile race. The fractions were :22.75 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and :46.98 seconds for the half-mile, and 1:11.33 for six furlongs as Golden Lad, Korean-bred Major King, and Cat Burglar raced just off the leaders.
Moreno, under urging entering the stretch, held a short lead as Cat Burglar shot through along the inside to challenge through one mile in 1:36.60. Meanwhile, Prayer for Relief, who ranged up on the turn, and Revolutionary, who had closed a large gap, took aim on the outside.
With Mike Smith riding, Revolutionary surged late to edge Prayer for Relief at the line in 1:55.99, well off the track record set by Farma Way in 1991. Cat Burglar was another 1 ¼ lengths back in third, getting the best of Moreno, who was a neck back in fourth.
"I didn't realize I was going to be so far back," Smith said. "I even asked him a little bit coming out of the gate. I was a little concerned and I thought, 'They must be flying out there.' Going past the five-eighths he really started to level off, and I felt confident he was going to run well.
"I didn't know if I would get by them all, but at the quarter pole I was pretty confident."
Revolutionary paid $6.40, $3.60, and $3.20 across the board. Prayer for Relief returned $7.20 and $4.60, while Cat Burglar returned $4.60. The $2 exacta was worth $74, while the $1 trifecta paid $217.10.
Valid finished fifth, followed by Bourbon Courage, Carve, Golden Lad, and Major King to complete the order of finish.
Revolutionary, third in the 2013 Kentucky Derby, also won the Louisiana Derby and Withers Stakes last year. He won his 2014 debut in an allowance/optional claiming test in January and followed up with a seventh-place finish in the Donn Handicap Feb. 9.
"I think he showed last year and as a 2-year-old that he was a really good horse," Pletcher said. "The time off we gave after last year's [fifth-place finish in the] Belmont Stakes did him well. This was a big effort for him."
Revolutionary has now earned in excess of $1.3 million for his connections.