05/14/2014 1:44PM

Rollicking Stakes numbers stacked in Ward's favor


BALTIMORE – While Wesley Ward was in the neighborhood to run Pablo Del Monte in the Preakness, the affable trainer also thought he would run a horse or two – or four – in one of the supporting Preakness eve features at Pimlico, the $75,000 Rollicking Stakes.

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Ward, true to form, appears far ahead of his peers in regard to having his 2-year-olds ready to roll, and the fact he has half of the eight-horse field in this mid-May race speaks volumes about his prowess with babies.

Ward trainees Banksy, Bessie’s Boy, Hootenanny, and Spanish Pipedream drew posts 4 through 7 in the Rollicking, a five-furlong dash that marks the midway point of the Friday card as the seventh of 13 races (post, 3:05 p.m. Eastern).

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With various owners involved, Ward sought to be discreet when asked which horse he would pick to win.

“If I was betting, I’d just box them up in the superfecta,” he said with a laugh.

On paper, however, it appears Hootenanny (post 6, Leandro Goncalves) or Spanish Pipedream (post 7, John Velazquez) is the most likely winner from the Ward stable. Both won their career debuts by 4 1/4 lengths last month at Keeneland, both with eye-catching bursts of speed.

Half the field are fillies: Pret Say Eye, Banksy, Spanish Pipedream, and Royalty Sea. Also, half are maidens: Pret Say Eye, Far Right, Banksy, and Royalty Sea.