05/15/2013 3:51PM

Pimlico: Lukas sends Optimizer, four others, on Preakness undercard

Barbara D. Livingston
Optimizer, coming off a second to Wise Dan in the Woodford Reserve, is one of two trainer D. Wayne Lukas sends in the Dixie Stakes on Saturday. His stablemate Skyring will be uncoupled in the wagering.

BALTIMORE – Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas will have plenty to keep him busy Saturday at Pimlico even before he saddles three horses in the 138th Preakness Stakes.

Lukas has five horses running in three undercard stakes, topped by the uncoupled entry of Optimizer and Skyring in the Grade 2, $300,000 Dixie Stakes.

[2013 PREAKNESS STAKES: Latest news, video, and more]

The Dixie, run at 1 1/8 miles, drew a bulky 13-horse field that lacks a standout.

Optimizer, who ran sixth in last year’s Preakness, is coming off a second-place finish behind Wise Dan in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve two weeks ago at Churchill Downs. Earlier this year, he won the Colonel Bradley and Fair Grounds handicaps, both Grade 3 events.

Skyring is winless in 11 starts since taking the James Murphy over this course last Preakness Day. Most recently, he finished fourth behind Wise Dan in the Grade 1 Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland.

Contenders abound in the Dixie, including recent allowance winners Imagining, Howe Great, and Utley, as well as Willcox Inn, who was second to Amira’s Prince in the Grade 2 Mervin Muniz Jr. Handicap in March at Fair Grounds, and Swift Warrior, winner of a pair of Grade 3’s to begin the year.

Maryland Sprint: Lukas targets repeat

Lukas, who won the Maryland Sprint Handicap last year with Hamazing Destiny, sends out Laurie’s Rocket in Saturday’s renewal of the Grade 3, $150,000 race at six furlongs.

Laurie’s Rocket will be making his seventh start of the year. He’s won three races, including the Hot Springs Stakes, and most recently finished third in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes.

Laurie’s Rocket drew post 8 in the 10-horse field, which should allow Joel Rosario to take up a stalking position in a race loaded with speed.

Among the early speed types is Poseidon’s Warrior, last year’s Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt winner, who makes his first start in five months.

Action Andy, Gentlemen’s Bet, Immortal Eyes, and Candyman E add to the field’s depth.

Gallorette: Samitar sheds arch-rival

Without Centre Court in the field, Samitar looks well spotted to gain her first win of the year in Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Gallorette Handicap.

Samitar was a Group 1 winner in England before coming to the U.S., where she has won the Grade 1 Garden City at Belmont from five starts. Three of her losses came to Centre Court, to whom she ran third in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley.

Samitar, trained by Chad Brown, will face nine rivals, including stablemate Pianist. Other contenders include Embarr and Charged Cotton, the first- and third-place finishers in the Dahlia Stakes here on April 6; Daydreamin Gracie; and Old Tune, who had a six-race winning streak snapped in the Jenny Wiley.

Allaire DuPont: Brushed by a Star sharp

Brushed by a Star’s North America tour hits Pimlico Saturday when she and Summer Applause head a field of seven entered in the Grade 3, $150,00 Allaire DuPont Distaff Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.

In three starts this year, Brushed by a Star finished second in the Houston Ladies Classic at Sam Houston in January; third in the Grade 1 Santa Margarita at Santa Anita in March; and second in the Grade 3 Sixty Sails Handicap at Hawthorne in Chicago in April.

She gets a rider switch to Rosario and will break from post 7.

Summer Applause won the Grade 2 Top Flight at Aqueduct in March before finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom in April.

James Murphy: Pletcher brings Notacatbutallama

Trainer Todd Pletcher kept all his 3-year-old dirt horses in New York, but sent Notacatbutallama here for the $100,000 James Murphy Stakes at a mile on the turf.

Notacatbutallama went 3 for 6 on turf last year before he tried the dirt in an effort to see if he was Triple Crown material.

His main rivals in the 11-horse field look to be Redwood Kitten, third in the Grade 3 Transylvania, and China Holiday, who was beaten a head when second in the Sophomore Turf Stakes at Tampa.

Chick Lang: Undrafted back in sprint

Undrafted, owned by NFL star receiver Wes Welker, returns to sprinting in Saturday’s $100,000 Chick Lang Stakes at six furlongs.

Undrafted, third in the Swale and Hutcheson at seven furlongs, most recently finished 13th in the Blue Grass Stakes at 1 1/8 miles.

Among his eight rivals are Zee Bros, a fast maiden winner at Santa Anita for Bob Baffert, and Clawback, winner of the Jimmy Winkfield Stakes at Aqueduct in the winter.

◗ The fillies Sweet Emma Rose and Knit One Purr Too head a field of eight 2-year-olds in the $100,000 Rollicking Stakes at five furlongs. Wesley Ward, who trains Sweet Emma Rose, also sends out the colt No Nay Never, who like his female counterpart was a debut winner at Keeneland.