Updated on 05/16/2014 6:37PM

Revolutionary comes from last to win Pimlico Special

Barbara D. Livingston
Revolutionary ran from last to first Friday in winning the Pimlico Special at Pimlico.

BALTIMORE – In the early stages of Friday’s $300,000 Pimlico Special, jockey Mike Smith was wondering why his mount, the favored Revolutionary, was so far behind the other eight horses.

Then, he thought to himself, “They’re going too quick. Relax a little bit.”

Indeed, the early fractions were fast – a half-mile in 46.98 seconds – and Revolutionary took full advantage, unleashing a powerful kick approaching the quarter pole and sustaining it through the stretch to nail Prayer for Relief by a neck in the Grade 3 Pimlico Special. It was 1 1/4 lengths back to Cat Burglar in third. He was followed, in order, by Moreno, Valid, Bourbon Courage, Carve, Golden Lad, and Major King.

The win gave trainer Todd Pletcher a sweep of Friday’s two biggest races, as he also won the $500,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes with Stopchargingmaria.

For Revolutionary, it was his first stakes victory since he took last year’s Grade 2 Louisiana Derby. He completed his 3-year-old season with a third in the Kentucky Derby and a fifth in the Belmont Stakes.  He won an allowance race to kick off this year but was seventh in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream and second in the Oaklawn Park Handicap.

Revolutionary’s performance in the Oaklawn Handicap removed any doubt in Pletcher’s mind whether Revolutionary was back to his old self. The horse was bothered in the stretch by Will Take Charge, and a case could have been made he could have been put by the stewards in that race.

Still, Pletcher admitted to being a little worried the first time through the stretch Friday when Revolutionary was more than 20 lengths behind the pace-setting Valid. After seeing the early fractions of 22.78 and 46.98, Pletcher felt better.

“I said, ‘Well, maybe it’s OK. You never really plan to be that far back,’ ” Pletcher said. “I thought he was traveling fine, he had his head up in the air a little bit initially just from the kickback, but Mike seemed happy. Once they threw up the 46-and-change, I felt much better about it.”

Smith said down the backside, “I put my hands down, and he kind of leveled off. He started coming back. I felt pretty confident then.”

Valid ran six furlongs in 1:11.33, pursued by Golden Lad and Moreno. Valid began to back up, and Moreno took the lead in mid-stretch.

Prayer for Relief, under John Velazquez, was three wide and advanced toward the leaders entering the far turn. But Velazquez said Prayer for Relief “did not want to go by the leader.”

Prayer for Relief did make the lead inside the sixteenth pole but never saw Revolutionary, who came flying by him on the outside.

Revolutionary, a son of War Pass owned by WinStar Farm, covered the 1 3/16 miles in 1:55.99 over a track that was upgraded to fast after being sloppy to begin the day and returned $6.40 as the 2-1 favorite.

Pletcher said Revolutionary could be a candidate for the $500,000 Suburban at 1 1/4 miles July 5 at Belmont Park.