05/16/2008 12:06PM

45 Late Scratches


There are 45 late scratches so far on the rain-soaked Black-Eyed Susan/Pimlico Special card today in Baltimore. Maybe scheduling six grass races for the second-biggest day of the year at Pimlico was not such a great idea. All have been moved to the main track, including the Woodlawn and The Very One. So here's what's left of the all-stakes pick-4 (which I'll update with results during the day:)

The rain, scratches and surface switches have altered the complexion of the first three races in the sequence:

Race 9 (Woodlawn): Now at 1 1/16 miles on the main track, the Woodlawn had been a two-horse race on paper between graded stakes-winners Hatta Fort and Prussian, both scratched along with Hugo. It now looks like there may be a legit heavy favorite in Malibu Kid, the only one of the remaining six starters to have even run in a stakes race this year. He and MJ's Enchanteur are the only entrants who have exceeded Beyers of 75, both with three races in the 80-to-85 range to their credit.

Race 10 (Pimlico Special): The scratch of Wanderin Boy and the wet track make a race that seemed sure to melt down late a lot more wide open. Favorites A.P. Arrow and Grasshopper are the most accomplished entrants, but the former returns from a race in Dubai seven weeks ago and the latter has never raced on a wet track (though he's bred to handle it well.) I was going to take a big shot with 20-1 ML Xchanger here before the rain, but given how poorly he ran in Monmouth slop in the BC Dirt Mile, I'll probably make only a token insanity-insurance bet on him if he stays in.

Race 11 (The Very One): The two logical favorites on turf (Smart and Fancy and Cat On a Cloud) stayed in. The former ran her career-best race against Oprah Winney in the slop, but the latter appears better on turf. The other filly who now deserves consideration is 15-1 ML All Giving, who is 3 for 3 on wet tracks.

Race 12 (Black-Eyed Susan): I'm playing against 9-5 ML favorite Bsharpsonata, a gritty filly who handles slop but who has yet to win beyond a mile on the dirt and who may be headed in the wrong direction. While she ran against a much stronger field in the Oaks last time, she got an easy lead through soft fractions and tired. Instead I'll try Highest Class, She's All Eltish and a little Sweet Vendetta.

Coverage is scheduled to run from 3:30 to 6 pm ET on ESPN2.