05/18/2017 1:36PM

Three Rules back sprinting in Chick Lang Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Three Rules (right) finishes second in the Grade 2 Swale at Gulfstream, which was the last time he sprinted.

BALTIMORE – The supporting stakes on the Preakness and Black-Eyed Susan programs are identical to those of a year ago with one notable exception, the purse of the Chick Lang Stakes on Saturday has been doubled to $200,000.

The intent, according to Sal Sinatra, president of the Maryland Jockey Club, is to get the six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds upgraded to a Grade 3.

“I was going over the graded stakes committee’s works book, and the Lang rated very well,” Sinatra said. “So, I asked the horsemen to give me one shot to make it a graded stakes by raising the purse from $100,000 to $200,000, and they supported the idea.”

Sinatra might just get his wish because the Lang has come up strong.

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It has attracted Three Rules, who has made his last four starts in either Grade 1 or Grade 2 company; Recruiting Ready, who is Grade 2-placed and coming off a 5 1/4-length victory in the Bachelor Stakes at Oaklawn Park; and Even Thunder, who was second in the Grade 3 Bay Shore on April 8.

Three Rules swept the Florida Stallion Stakes last year for trainer Jose Pinchin. He began his 3-year-old campaign by running second in the Grade 2 Swale at Gulfstream Park going seven furlongs but has tired while trying longer distances in his last two races, the Florida Derby and Fountain of Youth.

He should enjoy this return to a sprint. Luis Saez keeps the mount.

Recruiting Ready started his career with a 10-length maiden win and runner-up finishes to Classic Empire in the Grade 3 Bashford Manor and to Gunnevera in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special. He tailed off in his final two starts at 2 and in his 3-year-old debut, prompting trainer Horacio De Paz to send him back to Maryland from Florida.

Recruiting Ready was given a confidence builder in a Laurel Park optional-claiming race before being sent to Oaklawn and winning the Bachelor. Horacio Karamanos will be aboard again Saturday.

“The Bachelor was a very good effort,” De Paz said. “He always has been talented, but he now also is consistent.”

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Although it doesn’t show in his past-performance lines, Recruiting Ready worked a half-mile at the Sagamore Farm of owner Kevin Plank last Saturday, De Paz said. De Paz said he worked in 49 seconds over the farm’s six-furlong Tapeta track.

Even Thunder was making his first start since being transferred to trainer John Servis in the Bay Shore.

Theory, who was impressive for Todd Pletcher while winning a maiden race and the Grade 3 Futurity at Belmont in his first two starts last year, will try to get back on track after finishing a weakening fourth in the Bay Shore in his lone start at 3.

The Very One

Pretty Perfection had her three-race win streak broken in the Giant’s Causeway at Keeneland in her most recent start, but she looks to be the horse to beat when 11 fillies and mares square off going five furlongs on turf Saturday at Pimlico in the $100,000 The Very One.

Pretty Perfection, a 5-year-old trained by Kelly Breen, rattled off consecutive wins at Gulfstream Park over the winter in an optional-claiming race, the Ladies’ Turf Sprint, and the Captiva Island.

She was fanned very wide from post 9 in the Giant’s Causeway. Corey Lanerie picks up the mount.

Other contenders include Everything Lovely, who finished second in the Ladies’ Turf Sprint; Animal Appeal, who is exceptionally fast and finished third in the Smart N Fancy at Saratoga last summer; and Nite Delite, who finished fourth to Pretty Perfection twice this winter.