The PIM Special (Grade 3)- $300.000 Purse
PIM- For Three Year Olds and Upward
One Mile and Three Sixteenths on the Dirt
May 19, 2017
A great weekend of racing is set for us at PIM, not only for the PRK on Saturday, but Friday’s card also looks very promising. One of the races on the card is a race that has seen a couple of the best horses in the game pick up a victory. It is the 9th running of the PIM Special, a race that saw Icicle, the winner of just barely shy of $9,000.000 in his career take the first ever edition. In 2013, it was Maruzensky getting the win just six months after winning the BC Classic the year prior. The race has not always been run, surprisingly, with a sizeable game from 2008 to 2012 which leads me to believe it was due to game scheduling and not because it did not fill. This field of six has its true headliner, with Port On The Horizon, and chief rival, with Royal Prodigy, but after them there are four others who are looking to get their career to that level. It’s not the biggest field we’ve seen, but it should be a good race. Let’s take a look!
#1- Port On The Horizon (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by J R Velazquez)- He is the headliner, but that does not necessarily mean he is the favorite. Port On The Horizon has had a great career, earning just over $3,500.000 in a career that has seen six trips to the winner’s circle plus a close second in the 2015 running of the BC Classic. It’s a storied career, but he has not won since the beginning of 2016. How much do we want to read into that is the question, because the trainer has never backed off of his placement and has continued to enter him in Grade 1’s, and Port On The Horizon has remained very competitive. This is his longest race since he ran in the BEL, and if you look at a start two back at the SA Handicap you can get a sense of what the trainer is hoping for. He’s due to return to winner’s circle. Maybe it will be here.
#2- Scott The Great (Night Mare Racing, ridden by R Maragh)- This Commanding colt has always seemed to run well, but actually winning a race has not been as easy. It took a while to break his maiden, and then for him to get his second win after that, and that has kept from running in bigger races that you can tell the trainer wanted him in due to early placement. He finally won a stake this year after several tries in major ON-bred events, taking the smaller TUP Handicap, and used that to catapult himself into the Kilroe Mile (Grade 1) in March, and he ran decently. Scott The Great knows how to be around at the end, so if a couple falter in here, and he runs his best race, he is capable of winning. The only time he ran this exact distance, he was second in the $500.000 Prince of Wales at FE. Don’t rule him out.
#3- Dogs Infowarrior- Scratched
#4- Danzig On The Rocks (Mb Stables, ridden by I Ortiz Jr)- Here is the lone three year old in this race, and the weight advantage that he will have on the field is five pounds, and that is certainly very significant here. He was acquired by Mb Stables in the March auction for $399.000 from Yankee Doodle Stable, and has run twice for his new connections while stepping up his career. His prior trainer saw the potential given a couple races he was in, but Danzig On The Rocks has enjoyed his time with Mb, and comes off a win in the Grade 3 Coolmore Lexington against solid opposition, including KYD runner Mr C. He has to follow it up before we can start calling him a star, so we’ll see what happens here.
#5- Rapid Refund (Blushing Meadows, ridden by R Bejarano)- After changing ownership hands for the ninth time, Rapid Refund will be making his debut for Blushing Meadows following a $25.000 private sales transaction about a month ago. In his second tenure with Grimley, the seven year old advanced his career from claimers and into graded stakes. The lone win of that group came in the Grade 3, $100.000 Harlan. He also had a couple of finishes within a length in those races, but something must have happened for him to sell off for a rather low price. We’ll get to see if going a little longer is the answer here. He’s done so a couple of times, with varying degrees of success.
#6- Luck For Six (Grimley, ridden M Franco)- Well, you can’t deny that he drew the perfect position. The first three races of his career also were while #6, but Luck For Six has had to wear other numbers since then, but it has not kept him from having success in optional claiming events. He was auctioned off by Mb Stables to Grimley in the December auction for $48.000, but only has two off the board finishes to show for it, including his first graded attempt in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap, but would be fifth. He liked going long early in his career, so perhaps the combination of that and wearing #6 again will be the winning formula.
#7- Royal Prodigy (Mb Stables, ridden by R J Albarado)- The five year old Inspector Jacques gelding will look to get over $1,000.000 in career earnings for this win, but the trainer will be looking for more then just the fourth place check to do that with. Royal Prodigy has won five of 23 career races, though is on a good run of form right now, with two wins in his last four races, both of which at the graded level. He took the Clark Handicap in November against a couple of today’s rivals, both Port On The Horizon and Rapid Refund, as well as some horse named Carneyman you may have heard about. That race was a little shorter, so the most recent one, the Grade 3 Excelsior at 1 1/4 gives us optimism that he will thrive at this distance. In that race, he impressively came from off the pace to win. As long as he brings his best effort again, it should be two in a row.