Trainer Bob Baffert wins 2 stakes on Preakness undercard
BALTIMORE (AP) Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert won a pair of 3-year-old stakes on the Preakness undercard Saturday at rainy and foggy Pimlico.
American Freedom earned a gutty victory in the Sir Barton, and Justin Squared remained unbeaten in the Chick Lang.
Both were worth $100,000.
American Freedom ran hard every step, pressing the early pace set by Fearless Dragon. After the putting away that rival down the backstretch, American Freedom was immediately challenged by Donegal Moon. They raced as a team around the final turn and into the stretch until American Freedom finally edged clear. He finished a length better than Voluntario who closed along the rail.
Rebounding from a disappointing sixth in the Pat Day Mile at Churchill Downs as the 7-5 favorite, American Freedom earned his second win in three starts.
''I was disappointed that he got beat last time,'' Baffert said. ''We've always been really high on this horse. Today it looked like he was almost done, and he came back. Hopefully, he'll have a great summer.''
American Freedom paid $4.60 to win.
One year after winning the Preakness on their way to a Triple Crown sweep with American Pharoah, Zayat Stables and Baffert returned to capture the Chick Lang for sprinters with Justin Squared.
The gray colt improved to 3 for 3 with a front-running victory. The 4-5 favorite ridden by Martin Pedroza held off a late rally from Counterforce by two lengths, covering the six furlongs in 1:11.41.
The horse is named for Justin Zayat, the son of owner Ahmed Zayat. Justin Squared paid 3.60 to win.
In other undercard stakes:
– Takeover Target closed furiously to beat Ring Weekend by a neck in the $250,000 Dixie Stakes, the richest event on the Preakness undercard.
Ring Weekend, making his first start in over year, was poised to claim the victory until Takeover Target launched his belated bid.
A 4-year-old trained by Chad Brown, Takeover Target got his first win in four starts this season. Irad Ortiz Jr. was in the saddle for the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.76.
Takeover Target paid $9 to win.
– Always Sunshine rallied to win the $150,000 Maryland Sprint.
The 4-year-old colt trained by Ned Allard sat third as Cinco Charlie set the pace. Always Sunshine and jockey Frankie Pennington took charge in midstetch, beating All Star Red by 2 1/2 lengths.
It was the second straight win-the fifth in 11 races overall-for Always Sunshine. He paid $5.80 to win.
The time was 1:10.49 for the six furlongs in the mud.
Salutos Amigos, the 6/5 favorite, finished fifth.
– Marengo Road pulled a 15-1 upset in the $100,000 James W. Murphy Stakes for 3-year-olds on the rain-soaked turf course listed as good.
The colt trained by Michael Trombetta was overlooked in the wagering despite a solid record of 3 for 9 coming in, including a victory in the Miracle Wood Stakes at Laurel.
Marengo Road and jockey Julian Pimentel held off a late charge from Aquaphobia by 1 1/4 lengths, paying $33.80 to win.
The time was 1:39.04 for the mile.
– The well-traveled Lady Shipman took the $100,000 Very One for distaff turf sprinters as the 2-5 favorite.
The 4-year-old chestnut trained by Kiaran McLaughlin beat Joya Real by 2 1/4 lengths for her second straight stakes victory since running seventh in the Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai in late March.
Joel Rosario guided her to the 11th win in 16 career starts. The time was 57.85 seconds for the five furlongs.
She paid $2.80 to win.
– Mizz Money pulled out a thriller in the $150,000 Gallorette Stakes for fillies and mares on the turf.
The gray 4-year-old prevailed by a head over Vielsalm with Heath only a nose back in third.
Mizz Money, trained by Bernie Flint and ridden by Javier Castellano, improved to 6 for 19.
She paid $11.80 to win. The time was 1:45.93 for the 1 1/16 miles.
Florent Geroux was aboard for the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.85.