05/17/2012 10:10AM

Pimlico: Awesomemundo set for stakes debut in Allaire DuPont

Oaklawn Park/Coady Photography
Absinthe Minded looms as the horse to beat in the Allaire DuPont Distaff.

Bob Baffert did not get in town in time to see an Orioles game this week, but he will still root, root, root for the home team on Saturday at Pimlico, when he sends out Awesomemundo, owned by his wife Jill, in the Grade 3, $100,000 Allaire DuPont Distaff for older fillies and mares.

Baffert has high hopes for Awesomemundo, 4, who will be making her stakes debut in the 1 1/16-mile race. She has shown flashes of brilliance at times, including a runaway victory at Santa Anita in February. But Baffert has learned that she requires plenty of time between races, so she will be raced sparingly between now and her year-end goal, the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic at Santa Anita.

“If she runs a big race, she can’t bounce out of it real quick,” Baffert said. “I don’t want to run her too much this year.

“She’s getting better with age. By the time she’s 7, she’ll realize her full potential,” he said, joking.

The race sets up well for Awesomemundo, who should have plenty of pace in front of her.

Absinthe Minded is strictly the one to beat. She has faced the division’s best for the past two seasons, and acquitted herself well when second to another Baffert filly, Plum Pretty, in the Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park in April. She is being wheeled back 15 days after running fourth in the La Troienne at Churchill Downs.

Love and Pride will be a pace factor. The winner of the Affectionately at Aqueduct during the winter, she was fourth most recently in the Sixty Sails at Hawthorne.

Strike the Moon, trying to stretch her speed around two turns, adds even more pace to the lineup.