05/15/2012 1:07PM

Pimlico: Alternation heads deep cast for Pimlico Special

Barbara D. Livingston
Alternation, a leading player in Friday's Pimlico Special, trains over a wet track on Tuesday.

BALTIMORE – It’s far too early in 2012 to start talking about Horse of the Year, but there it was in a media release about the revived Pimlico Special: 15 of the previous 41 winners eventually were voted Horse of the Year.

The $300,000 Pimlico Special will be run Friday for the first time since being discontinued after the 2008 running, and although there is no promise of a Horse of the Year in the field, an exceptionally deep lineup of 10 older horses clearly outdoes the Grade 3 rating the 1 3/16-mile race carries in its return. Among those entered are Alternation, winner of the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap last out; Hymn Book, winner of the Grade 1 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream in February; Nehro, the 2011 Kentucky Derby runner-up; and Mission Impazible, an earner of more than $1.2 million.

The Pimlico Special essentially displaced the W.D. Schaefer on the Pimlico stakes schedule so as to retain a grade, which disappears when a race is not run for two straight years. A resurgent purse structure on the Maryland circuit because of new casino revenues allowed Pimlico to renew the Special while also bolstering purses for some other Preakness weekend stakes and for everyday racing.

Alternation arrived at Pimlico a week early and has been one of the few stars to train here daily, pending the influx of arrivals here Wednesday or later from Kentucky, New York, and elsewhere.

“There was plenty of time to get him a nice trip and do a little schooling here,” said trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel. “This looked like a good next step for him. We liked the distance and the type of race it is. It’s a race with a lot of tradition and history and it will set him up nicely for the Stephen Foster,” a Grade 1 race on June 16 at Churchill Downs.

The Pimlico Special will lead off a two-day double wager ending with the Preakness. In the absence of the Pimlico Special in recent years, the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes had led off that double.

The 13-race Friday card starts at noon Eastern. Pimlico also is offering a $200,000 guaranteed pool on the late pick four Friday (races 9-12) ending with the Pimlico Special.

Also, when live racing resumes here Thursday following a three-day break, horseplayers can take a shot at a carryover of $100,124 in the 50-cent pick five, which starts with race 5.

Pimlico Special (G3), Post Time: 5:51 ET Friday

Purse: $300,000; 1 3/16 miles





ML Odds


Toby's Corner

H. Motion

E. Castro




E. Harty

M. Garcia



Hymn Book

C. McGaughey, III

J. Velazquez



Cherokee Artist

J. Robb

V. Santiago




S. Asmussen

C. Nakatani



Mission Impazible

T. Pletcher

J. Castellano



Yawanna Twist

J. Parisella

M. Luzzi




D. Von Hemel

L. Quinonez




T. Keefe

S. Russell



Eric Rickard More than 1 year ago
Endorsement Is the pick here. Was a pre Derby favorite until his injury. Has come back with a vengeance. Hopefully his return continues well and other Horses are kept in training more. Also, at 8-1 a very good price.
Stephen Thompson More than 1 year ago
Don't overlook Endorsement. We may not have seen his best race ever yet and he could be sitting on a big race..
st More than 1 year ago
love THE Q
Rick Marciniak More than 1 year ago
Maybe the Maryland Millions can be worth it's actual price.
Alex More than 1 year ago
Alternation will definitely win.
Mick More than 1 year ago
Also glad to see this race back up and running, was a great race before its hiatus, looks like a good renewal to kick it off again. I like Hymn Book and Toby's Corner in this one. I'm iffy on Alternation, I'm wondering if he's not another Nates Mineshaft case, substitute Oaklawn for Fair Grounds. If he wins, he wins, congrats, I just won't have picked him. I'm afraid I never fell for Nehro like everyone else did, still think he's a bit overrated.
Rick Marciniak More than 1 year ago
Don't overlook Cherokee Artist. Ran huge here and Robb has him in the right direction.
Mick More than 1 year ago
I'll keep him in mind for a long shot play, thank you.
Craig More than 1 year ago
Thanks for not mentioning Tobys Corner.I'm expecting a Wood like performance at a nice price.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have been in love with horse racing in America since the day I first came to a race track in California. There, my friends from all walks of life taught me how to read and to understand the Daily Racing Form. I got hooked! There are so many good writers written for DRF. I can't name them all. They deserve our utmost respect and adoration for their devotion to the racing world. Thanks America and thanks the DRF.
Alex More than 1 year ago
Eric Rickard More than 1 year ago
I also learned in California. And could not agree more.
walter goode More than 1 year ago
its nice to see the pimlico special back on the program. maybe md racing can reclaim its proud heritage.