Stakes Preview: In the Sir Barton Stakes at Pimlico, Dazzling Gem should sparkle


>>Go to the PPs for The Sir Barton, Post Time 4:43 EDT Saturday

The $100,000 Sir Barton has a field of 14 horses going a mile and 1 1/16 on the dirt. The favorite on the morning line is Bob Baffert’s American Freedom at 5-2. The race may very well be run over a wet surface.

According to the TimeformUS Pace Projector, the Sir Barton will be run at a fast pace, and the clear early leader will be #5 American Freedom. He is followed by Cadeyrn and Gettysburg. Then there’s another gap back to Dazzling Gem and Donegal Moon.

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The fastest TimeformUS Late Pace rating in the field belongs to Discreet Lover.

Here is the field in post position order, with morning line odds in parentheses:

Lazarus Project (20-1): Has had three chances to get back to the 101 that he ran in his second start. Still hasn’t done it. We are looking elsewhere.

Cadeyrn (15-1): Broke his maiden by 11 lengths at Aqueduct in his fourth start. Essentially paired his top of 103, which is too slow against the best of these. His front-running style may leave him compromised by the projected fast pace. We don’t like him today.

Kingslayer (15-1): His trainer gets a 100 rating at Pimlico and this colt’s top of 100 came in the slop at Parx. However, after seven tries, he is still way too slow on our figures, and he will probably  be coming from well back today. Pass.

Voluntario (10-1): Interesting horse. He was fast at age two, establishing a top of 104 while breaking his maiden in a maiden claiming sprint. He got past it in his second start at age three. Then he moved forward another four points in his first route attempt. He will be trying two turns for the first time, and he is one more forward move away from being able to run with the best of these at a price. Rudy Rodriguez gets a decent 78 rating at Pimlico. The projected fast pace would probably flatter this horse.

American Freedom (5-2):

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Baffert colt broke his maiden in his debut, over a sloppy track. Then he jumped 12 points to a 115 in the Grade 3 Pat Day Mile despite a rough start. Pace Projector shows him in the early lead, but he is also a prime candidate to stalk instead. Baffert gets a 100 rating at Pimlico and a 92 with third-time starters. $500,000 purchase has loads of potential and is already very fast. Strong contender. The knock here is price.

Donegal Moon (8-1): Ran a 110 as a two-year-old while well beaten by Mohaymen in the Remsen. Surpassed it by six points while dominating an entry-level allowance at Parx. Regressed six points in the Blue Grass. A step back toward the 116 would make him a contender today. Pletcher is strong (99 rating) at Pimlico.

Dazzling Gem (9-2):

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Has an absolutely gorgeous pattern of speed figures: 98 108 110 113. Has proven capable of stalking a fast pace while retaining his punch. Has proven capable of sitting back like a full-blown closer and making a run. He’s fast (top of 113). He’s lightly raced. He’s in excellent hands. He has faced strong company. He has nice timing into this race (Cox gets a 100 rating with comparable spacing between starts). He has supposedly been training very well for this. In the Arkansas Derby he made a wide run while hard-used after likely having had some of the life sucked out of him by racing fairly close to a crazy-fast pace. We find much to like here. Dazzling Gem is our selection.

Moon King (15-1): Casse colt is a little slow vs. these but he has a pretty pattern and he’s in good hands. We would not rule out another jump, which could get him into the bottom of exotics.

Charmed Victory (20-1): His last dirt try was a step backwards from a number that itself was too slow. We are not optimistic.

Discreet Lover (15-1): Made a big jump, to a 111, in his 11th start. That is the kind of effort that is likely to be followed by a regression. And he is leaving Parx for this. However, he has the right style, and he will be a price. So we will keep him in the exotic mix in the hope that he comes close to pairing.

I Came to Party (20-1): His only strong effort from nine tries came in a Charles Town sprint that we don’t expect to translate all that well today. We’ll pass.

Fearless Dragon (20-1): Is on an improving pattern but remains too slow and is way up in class for this. Pass.

Gone Local (30-1): Way too slow on our numbers.

Gettysburg (5-1): We are quite fond of this colt. He has improved his speed figure in every start: 84 93 101 104 114 118. He has run well in tougher company than he sees today. He fought hard after setting a crazy-fast pace in the Arkansas Derby.  Pletcher’s horses fire at Pimlico. There is quite a bit to like here. What we do not like is this post into a projected hot pace. But Gettysburg is certainly a strong contender. At this point in his career, he could very well be the most talented horse in the field.

The Play:

Win bet on Dazzling Gem.

Add trifectas using Dazzling Gem over and under American Freedom and Gettysburg, while using Voluntario, Moon King, and Discreet Lover in the three-hole only.

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