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Corporate Power, Apple Picker Capture Stakes at Pimlico

Corporate Power  rallied from fourth at the furlong pole and got up in the final jump to nose out Gould’s Gold  in the restricted $100,000 Sir Barton Stakes for 3-year-olds May 18 at Pimlico Race Course.

The 8-5 favorite and rider Javier Castellano had to survive a stewards’ inquiry and an objection by Joel Rosario on third-place finisher Imperial Gun . Corporate Power and Imperial Gun bumped near the sixteenth pole, where the winner leaned in and Imperial Gun leaned outward. Stewards reviewed the incident during an inquiry but made no change to the order of finish.

It was a rough beat for jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. on trainer Ken McPeek’s Gould’s Gold. The jockey and trainer duo won a three-horse photo in the Kentucky Derby (G1) on Mystik Dan  but came up barely short this time.

It was the second stakes victory of the day for Castellano, who scored earlier on Super Chow  in the Maryland Sprint Stakes (G3).

Trainer Shug McGaughey added blinkers to Corporate Power.

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“It was only his fourth race, and he has a lot to learn,” McGaughey said. “He’s not ready, I think, for the big boys.”

Castellano thought the blinkers “definitely helped” but that the colt “is still figuring it out.”

So is Gould’s Gold.

“Just a lightly raced horse and just a little green about things,” Hernandez said. “He made the lead and he got a little lost, a little distracted.”

Corporate Power, a son of Curlin  , paid $5.20 for his second career win after running 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.98 on a recently harrowed track classified by Equibase as muddy. The winner’s share of $60,000 lifted his earnings to $121,200 for owner Courtlandt Farms. 


Apple Picker Defeats Swall in Skipat

Apple Picker  looked like an accomplished mudder in her first race on a wet track. The 4-year-old daughter of Connect had no trouble handling the goo as she rallied between horses midstretch and drew off to a 1 3/4-length victory over Swall  earlier on Saturday in the $100,000 Skipat Stakes. It was the first of eight added-money races on the Preakness Stakes (G1) undercard.

Jockey Sheldon Russell waited midpack before surging down the middle of the track and meeting his wife, Brittany Russell, in the winner’s circle. He also posed in it after the previous race, when he scored on 6-1 shot Nasty Habit , trained by Anthony Farrior, in a field that included two of his wife’s horses.

“It set up great for Apple Picker,” said Brittany Russell, Maryland’s leading trainer. “Good trip. Sheldon did a great job, and she ran great. You always worry on a day when there is moisture in the racetrack. Sometimes it favors speed. But she is a tough filly, and she’ll run through anything.

“We had been talking about today’s races for a couple of days and had a pretty good game plan.”

Apple Picker with Sheldon Russell win the 31st Running of the Skipat Stakes (Listed) at Pimlico on May 18, 2024. Photo By: Chad B. Harmon
Photo: Chad B. Harmon

Apple Picker wins the Skipat Stakes

It was the fifth victory in 14 starts for Apple Picker, who fared well on the muddy, sealed surface. She was timed in 1:12.34 for her third win in four tries at six furlongs. She earned $60,000, raising her total earnings to $401,283 for owner/breeder Michael Dubb, who made the trip from New York. She paid $8.40 as the second betting choice and finished 5 3/4 lengths ahead of 6-5 favorite Disco Ebo , who faded to fifth.

“I really try to ride her the same way every time,” Sheldon Russell said. “Her only weakness is that she takes a while to get into stride. Today down the backside she crept up nicely on the inside around the half-mile pole. She was traveling good turning for home, and she’s the type of filly that if you get her clear and show her some running space, she’s going to do her best, and she did that today.”


Frenchmen Prat, Delacour Score on Turf With Fulmineo

Flavien Prat moved wide into the stretch on Fulmineo  and proved that saving ground sometimes is not as important as finding the best ground.

Fulmineo surged late down the middle of a soft turf course and cruised to a 2 1/4-length victory over Crystal Quest  in the $100,000 James W. Murphy Stakes for 3-year-olds. Abrumar  ran third.

Fulmineo with Flavien Prat wins the James Murphy at Pimlico in Baltimore, MD, on May 18, 2024.
Photo: Skip Dickstein

Fulmineo closes outside to take the James W. Murphy Stakes at Pimlico Race Course

Trainer Arnaud Delacour added blinkers to improve the colt’s focus. “It looked like he was a bit distracted in his last couple races, and I think they helped,” he said.

His fellow Frenchman, Prat, is one of the world’s best grass riders, and he found the right path again.

“To be honest, it was hard to judge the pace because the course is so soft,” Prat said. “I let him run down the backside and he responded well in the lane when I was able to get him to the outside on the good ground. From there he was traveling well and did the rest.”

Fulmineo, a son of Bolt d’Oro  , earned only his second win in nine starts while breaking a six-race losing streak dating to last September. He paid $6.60 after running a mile in 1:44.78, more than 11 seconds off the course record. He earned $60,000, lifting his bankroll to $179,275 for co-owners Starlight Racing and Mark Grier.


Grooms All Bizness Triumphs in Jim McKay Turf Sprint

A handicapping angle that often works is betting a horse in his first race after being gelded. It paid off Saturday with Grooms All Bizness , who came flying late to catch multiple stakes winner Witty  and take the $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint Stakes by 1 1/2 lengths.

The winner rallied widest on a day when the outside was the place to be on Pimlico’s very soft course.

Grooms All Bizness with Jorge Ruiz win the 19th Running of The Jim McKay Turf Sprint (Listed)
Photo: Chad B. Harmon

Grooms All Bizness takes flight under Jorge Ruiz late in the Jim McKay Turf Sprint Stakes at Pimlico Race Course

The 5-year-old son of Fed Biz   had not run in nine months, which did not concern trainer Jorge Duarte Jr. “He needed a little break, and historically he’s done well on soft going. We felt good going in,” he said.

Grooms All Bizness, ridden by Jorge Ruiz, paid $13.60 for his fifth victory in 12 grass races. He ran five furlongs in 1:01.08 and made $60,000, raising his earnings to $318,775 for owner/breeder Colts Neck Stables.

Smooth B  was third.


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