Successful Claim Last Judgment Leads Every Step Of Pimlico Special

The run of successful claims by trainer Mike Maker continued on Friday at Pimlico Race Course when Last Judgment, picked up for $62,500 last October, led at every point of call to win the Grade 3 Pimlico Special.

The 5-year-old Congrats gelding was taken straight to the lead from the outside post by jockey Jose Ortiz, and he crossed the wire for the first time a length and a half ahead of closest challengers Modernist, Cordmaker, and Treasure Trove. Last Judgment took the field into the first turn through an unrushed and untested opening quarter in :23.83 seconds, while the challengers continued to wait their turn.

Longshots Cordmaker and Treasure Trove started to draw closer to the leader on the outside through the first turn, but they soon retreated as they entered the back straightaway through a half in :47.60 seconds.

Ortiz continued to stand calmly in the irons across the backstretch as he was tracked by Treasure Trove and Modernist, and Cordmaker started to weaken, replaced by favorite Fearless.

Ortiz looked behind him started to ask for a little more with his hands as he entered the final turn with Last Judgment after six furlongs in 1:11.54. Modernist and Fearless remained as the only viable challengers as the field turned for home, and Ortiz brought out the crop for some mild urging in the final eighth of a mile, but it was hardly a panicked maneuver.

Neither of the challengers were able to find enough momentum to approach Last Judgment, and the gelding kicked on under a hand ride to win by 1 3/4 lengths. Modernist carried on for second, a neck ahead of Fearless, while Cordmaker continued on to finish fourth, 4 1/4 lengths further back.

Last Judgment completed the 1 3/16-mile Pimlico Special in 1:54.37 over a fast main track, paying $11.80 to win.

Maker saddled Last Judgment for the partnership of Michael Dubb, Steve Hornstock, Bethlehem Stables, and Nice Guys Stables. The Pimlico Special was Last Judgment’s fifth start for his new owners since being claimed last October at Belmont Park. Since then, he’s tallied wins in the Sunshine Classic Stakes, and the G3 Challenger Stakes, while also finishing second in the G3 Ghostzapper stakes at Gulfstream Park prior to the Pimlico Special.

Friday’s race improved Last Judgment’s record to eight wins in 18 starts for earnings of $502,965.

Last Judgment was bred in Florida by Woodford Thoroughbreds, out of the Forestry mare Fantasy Forest.

To view the race chart, click here.

$250,000 Pimlico Special (G3) Quotes

Winning Trainer Mike Maker (Last Judgment): “Very classy horse. We like the way he’s responded on that stretch out. Fabulous [claim] by these guys (co-owners Steve Hornstock and Steve Spielman).”

“He’s run well for us going a mile and an eighth. I was glad to stretch him out and hoped to get a softer pace going longer.”

“I was a little concerned about the outside post, but he doesn’t care for the dirt in his face, so he was going to be in the clear anyway. If someone was hell-bent on the lead, so be it.”

“To be honest, I’ve never really thought about anything further than today. But with a nice horse, you always have a lot of options.” 

Winning Jockey Jose Ortiz (Last Judgment): “I thought I was going to get [to the lead], but I knew that if somebody else wanted to get there, I could sit off him, too. It was not like the last time, I cooked in front in 46 [seconds] and that cost me the race for sure. I had a good position. I knew that if he broke well from the gate I could get to the lead nicely. Or if he didn’t break well I could sit second. But he broke really good.”

“It was a nice job by Mike [Maker]. He had him ready. The horse relaxed well. When I asked him he was there for me. That’s all you can ask for.”

Jockey Junior Alvarado (Modernist; 2nd): “I had a beautiful trip. The horse that won the race was the only one with the speed, and I was tracking behind him the whole way. Turning for home, I took my shot at it, but that horse in front just kept going. I was in a beautiful spot. If I had to do it 100 times, I would have picked the same spot I was in. I was traveling very beautifully. The horse in front got away with a nice pace and he kept going.”

Trainer Todd Pletcher (Fearless; 3rd): “I thought he ran well. He got shuffled back a bit. He tried to move him outside into the clear, but it’s tough when there’s no pace to try to close much ground. I thought he put in a long sustained run. They just didn’t come back.”

Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. (Fearless; 3rd): “On the backside, I knew the other horse [Last Judgment] was in control, so I started letting my horse pick it up. He made a long run. It was hard to get there. On the backside, he [Last Judgment] was running comfortable. I knew he was going to be hard to catch, so I started moving. It was a long run.”

The post Successful Claim Last Judgment Leads Every Step Of Pimlico Special appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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