Hanson: 2023 Preakness Day Spot Plays
As was the case for our Friday spot plays at Pimlico, we're leaning heavily on grass races for our action bets on Saturday's Preakness card. The 13-race Thoroughbred portion of the program begins at 10:30 a.m. ET.
#13 Pitagore (8-1) is a four-year-old making his belated debut and also drew a tough post in this 1 1/16-mile maiden on the turf. Those are some serious knocks, but he offers appeal on other fronts. The son of Empire Maker has turned in a healthy string of fast works at Turfway in advance of this first start under colors and hails from a good family. His dam was a Grade 3-placed stakes winner and has already produced French Group 3 winner Funny Kid. Pitagore also descends from Broodmare of the Year Courtly Dee.
#7 Amani's Image (8-1) stretches out to 1 1/16 miles in this turf allowance after turning in a useful prep going 5 1/2 furlongs at Laurel last month. Although she was off slow and fell 14 lengths behind, she passed all but the 3 1/2-length winner in the final quarter-mile. That was her best run in three tries on the grass, and she seems headed in the right direction for trainer Graham Motion, for whom she debuted in that Laurel heat.
#7 Prince of Jericho (9-2) perhaps isn't the pick on class in the six-furlong Chick Lang (G3), but he could prove plenty dangerous based on the potential pace scenario, which might get very hot with likely top two choices Havnameltdown and Super Chow gunning for the lead. If those two get rubber-legged late, Prince of Jericho seems talented enough to pick up most, if not all, of the pieces. Trainer Brittany Russell is winning at a 27% clip this season and has struck with seven of her first 12 starters at the Pimlico meet.
#4 Hurricane Dream is very unlikely to be as high as his 7-2 morning line in the Dinner Party (G3), and might even go off favored if most bettors are as taken as I was with his allowance win over the Keeneland turf last month. It was a dazzling display of authority, and he has a prime opportunity here to reverse the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) form against that race's first and third, Atone and Speaking Scout.
There's naturally plenty of pace lined up for this edition of the Jim McKay Turf Sprint, but wouldn't be surprised to see #6 That's Right (12-1) be the one they all have to run down. A five-length maiden winner over this course and distance on Preakness weekend last year, he went on to score in three of his next five, including the Turf Monster (G3) against older rivals (the two misfires both occurred in New York). His Parx worktab, consisting of bullets and near-bullets, suggests he could come out blazing here for trainer Michael Moore, who is winning at a 29% clip this season.