Kentucky Derby winner Justify won’t ship to Maryland from Churchill Downs in Kentucky until next week, and thankfully our runners entered over the next few weeks only need to take the short van ride from Laurel to Pimlico.
Speaking of Laurel, Enchanted Evening returned from a five-month break, broke well and showed good speed from the gate in last Thursday’s finale. She took the lead for a brief period at the top of the stretch but tired just a bit in the late stages.
“She tried, and I was happy with her effort. She probably moved a little early,” Tim said. “I was happy with the way she came out of it. Trying her five-eighths at Pimlico might be even better for her.”
In Friday’s sixth, Cyndara made a menacing move around the turn and loomed a threating second when turned for home. She couldn’t quite sustain that move, tiring in the final furlong.
Irish Access was up against it from the start in her turf debut in the seventh May 5. She was taken back after leaving the gate and lagged much father off the pace than usually accustomed to down the backstretch. At one point she was more than 15 lengths off what was a relatively slow pace. Sheldon Russell asked her to rally at the three-eighths pole and she responded, making a looping move around the turn while racing widest of all. She continued with interest in the stretch to secure a fourth-place finish, beaten only 3 1/4 lengths. At the end of the day, a solid effort for the filly owned by M. O. M. Stable.
“She was far back and when they hung up the first quarter in almost 25 (seconds), it shocked me because the turf course is really hard and fast,” Tim said. “I knew she was given way too much to do. She made a huge move, really it was like a half-mile move. I was happy she finished the way she did. Sheldon said she handled the turf great.”
Two races later, Dendrobia showed improved speed racing for the first time in six months. She crossed over from her outside post in the turf sprint to establish the lead going into the turn with Sheldon Russell. She was part of a strong pace and maintained that lead until upper stretch. She fought on gamely and barely missed in a photo for second-place. A good starting point to what is hopefully a productive year for the 3-year-old owned by Cynthia McGinnes and Francis Clemens.
“She surprised Sheldon coming out of there. I told him, ‘she’s a little rocket out of the gate.’ I was tickled with her. She was ready and ran as hard as she could,” Tim said.
Tim was optimistic that Tom Teal’s Best Way could move forward off his debut in mid-April in his race May 12 and he was right. After racing in a strong maiden in his debut, the son of Tizway ran for a $25,000 claiming tag at Pimlico.
“He came out of the race really well,” Tim said. “It’ll be a little easier for him in this race. This is the right spot for him.”
Best Way led at one point of the 1 1/16-mile turf race and finished second.
Flight Crew was set to run on grass for the first time since joining the Keefe barn in Sunday’s second, but the race was rained off. The son of Elusive Quality, who won a turf allowance on last year’s Preakness undercard, finished third in the 5-furlong waiver-claiming race.
Emma’sdiamonddiva moved up in class to allowance company off a convincing winning performance last month and finished third in the mud Sunday.
Tim has purchased the equine vibrating plate Vitafloor and expects to start using it soon. The machine provides increased blood flow and has become popular in recent years.
“I’m anxious to get it. I have the stall set up for it. Hopefully I’ll have it up and running by the weekend,” he said. “I’ve talked to a lot of people and they swear by it, they think it does help. If it’s something that can help a couple of horses, every little bit helps.”