May 13, 2015
Last year, I had the honour of covering the Grade III PIM Special as part of a huge PRK weekend program and vouched for the fact that, although it does not attract the same caliber of horse that it once did, it still has a history that included some of the best horses to ever look down an HRP bridle. With a $300.000 purse, and at the tricky 9.5-furlong distance, it once again commands a great deal of respect with a full field of ten assembled, including a three-year-old taking on the older runners, and favouritism will most likely sway between the three $1,000.000 earners in the field, even though none of them are coming in off a victory and could be vulnerable in what has become a mid-season event that takes more out of a horse than it probably should.
1-No Trippin (Eight-year-old bay gelding / Owner-Mb Stables)
No Trippin was the talk of the PIM Special last year after owner Mb Stables turned the $5.000 purchase into a runner-up behind multiple Grade III winner Hollywood Playboy, and then a Grade I winner in the Foster Handicap, and now the Grade II New Orleans Handicap winner comes back to PIM seeking redemption as a much better prospect. His closing second in the CT Classic should set him up nicely for another huge effort and a mammoth five-furlong workout at BEL will have him good and tight so the only issue is the post position and if he gets boxed in, he might have a tough time finding the needed room in the final furlong of the short PIM stretch.
Analysis-Elder statesman continues to impress
2-Lafferty (Four-year-old gray colt / Owner-Nolespan Racing)
Taken for a mire $7.000 two starts back, Lafferty added Lasix for his last effort at GP and nearly ran down the leaders going a flat-mile and now, with the added furlongs to work with, will try the same tactic in an effort to earn back much of that miniscule purchase price. The problem is simply a lack of experience racing at this level and while a Grade III is a good place to start, the quality of this field is unparalleled and there are others with more powerful efforts to fall back on, and that will make it tough for him.
Analysis-Catches a very tough field and that inflates his chances
3-Duca Di Toscana (Four-year-old bay gelding / Owner-Nakamura Stables)
Duca Di Toscana is just another horse in the PIM Special field who has come from humble beginnings and the former $25.000 claim has been saddled with some very heavy imposts in recent races, yet has still managed a pair of Grade II wins and a recent second in the OP Handicap as the highweight. Now, he meets rivals on the same footing and off a huge one-mile workout at BEL and if he can get into a striking position around the far turn, he is clearly good enough to win this race for connections who proved best in 2013 with Maruzensky.
Analysis-OP to PIM route is familiar for this owner
4-Macht Nichts (Three-year-old gray colt / Owner-Eastern Equine)
Grade I winning juvenile Macht Nichts was right on track for a start in the Grade I KYD but off the board finishes in the Gotham and AR Derby derailed those plans and now, he faces older runners for the first time in hopes of getting the experience necessary for a start in a race like the BEL. The break in weights and the time between races are always good things to look at when a three-year-old faces older runners but while he is high class, he is not amongst the best of his generation and many will view this as a test, rather than a true chance for him to win a Grade III event.
Analysis-Fits with Grade III foes but not older runners
5-Oher (Four-year-old gray colt / Owner-Mb Stables)
Horses like Oher are bred to go a route of ground and his family is one of the best at HRP but it took nearly a year for this colt to find the winner’s circle after that optional claiming demolition last year and that is cause for concern, especially from a barn that knows how to win. That is certainly not a knock since he did finish on the board in four Graded Stakes last year but the fear is that the value will not be there and while he would not be a surprise, take him at bigger odds than others to make sure you are not disappointed.
Analysis-Winning does not happen often for this colt
6-Kavorka (Four-year-old bay colt / Owner-Jerry Garcia Racing)
It took a while for sire Il Miglio Fabro to really find his groove but two of his sons find their way to the PIM Special and both have earned more than $1000.000; with Kavorka, you get the BG Stakes and SA Handicap winner who failed to find the three-turns at CT to his liking last time out and now, can stretch his tiny legs around an easier track. He always seems to follow up a bad race with a surprisingly good one so he might be around at the end of this softer event but he still needs to prove that he can carry his speed and weight for a long time and that might be the dagger in his armour if the closers come charging late.
Analysis-Will be clinging onto his position in the final furlong
7-Fusaichi Seven (Four-year-old black colt / Owner-Nakamura Stables)
The problem with backing Fusaichi Seven in the PIM Special is not the fact that he cannot handle the class, as proven in the Dangers Hour, but the fact that his main track experience is quite limited with only three starts total and for that reason, he becomes a longshot for me even with that last stakes win. His speed ratings have been steadily improving and he certainly looks fast enough on paper but while the turf to dirt angle is proven in real-life, it does not seem to fit as well at HRP and with this field, you have to look for someone with the necessary experience to handle the surface.
Analysis-Turf miler tries a new tactic
8-Foresight (Four-year-old bay colt / Owner-Sanny Village)
Last throughout in the Grade I Donn but a better second in the Grade III Skip Away at this same distance, Foresight races for a new barn on Friday in the PIM Special and will be looking to earn much of his $200.000 purchase price back with another big effort. Unfortunately, he has yet to crack a triple-digit speed mark and will probably be carrying more weight than he likes; couple that with speed from an outside post and it looks like a long road for a colt who might be better suited in ungraded stakes.
Analysis-Too much energy from the onset could spell trouble
9-Devilish Intentions (Five-year-old bay gelding / Owner-Night Rider Stables)
There actually is a lot to like about Devilish Intentions if you are looking for a square price and although his third in the Grade III Ali might not look great on paper, it was an incredibly tough field and can easily be used as a stepping stone to a big effort here. His score two back in the Evening Attire was exactly the kind of race that will win here and he has been pointed to this with a solid seven-furlong workout over the surface so look for him to sit two-wide down the backstretch and make a powerful late run that might not be good enough to win but certainly good enough for a piece.
Analysis-His last two look better than they seem
10-Announcement (Four-year-old bay gelding / Owner-Mb Stables)
Owner Mb Stables comes loaded for the PRK weekend and the last of his three in the Special is Announcement, lightly raced but with enough upside to at least warrant a minor glance for those eager to find a horse with stamina potential. A docile win at PRX going ten-furlongs led to a career-best speed rating but one has to question his affinity for the distance and while he might be able to get into a decent position, factors are too tough to make him a serious win candidate.
Analysis-Big win last time does not spell a win here
A pair of salty veterans with a combined $2250.000 in earnings lead the market for the Grade III PIM Special on Friday and with the inside track, and experience in this very race under his belt, No Trippin should be powerful enough to continue his hot season with a fourth win from only five starts in 2015. Duca Di Toscana has been facing some tough fields with some big weights and while he carries 124-pounds again, it is the same as nearly everyone and that makes him a legitimate shot for second, just ahead of Devilish Intentions who will try to build on two big effort at AQU and KEE and notch his first Graded Stakes win and second score of the season.
Win-No Trippin (3/1)
Place-Duca Di Toscana (7/2)
Show-Devilish Intentions (5/1)
Triple T Racing 🙂
Categories: Grade III