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May 18, 2012

Nine to go in Pimlico Special


Baltimore, MD (Sports Network) - Oaklawn Handicap winner Alternation heads an evenly matched field of nine older thoroughbreds for Friday's $300,000 Pimlico Special. The 1 3/16 mile race, last run in 2008, is being held the day before and at the same distance as the Preakness Stakes.

The original field of 10 was reduced when trainer Al Stall Jr. scratched Cease on Wednesday.

Undefeated this year, Alternation has drawn post eight with Luis Quinonez again in the saddle. The four-year-old colt is owned by Pin Oak Stable and trained by Donnie Von Hemel.

Alternation began 2012 with a 3 1/2 length win in the Essex Handicap at Oaklawn Park. Remaining at the Hot Springs track the colt won the Razorback Handicap in wire-to-wire fashion and duplicated that effort in the Oaklawn Handicap over Ron the Greek who earlier won the Santa Anita Handicap.

With seven wins in 12 lifetime starts, Alternation has earned $720,004.

Mission Impazible goes for his first win of the season on Friday after posting consecutive seconds to begin the year. The five-year-old, trained by Todd Pletcher, will be ridden by Javier Castellano from post six.

Owned by Twin Creeks Racing, Mission Impazible was second to Hymn Book by a nose in the Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park and a distant runner-up in the New Orleans Handicap to Nates Mineshaft at Fair Grounds. He finished 2011 with a second to Wise Dan in Churchill Downs' Clark Handicap.

Mission Impazible has won three of 17 career starts for better than $1.2 million.

Hymn Book is making just his second start since capturing the Donn Handicap on Feb. 11. Trained by Shug McGaughey, the six-year-old gelding will break from post three with John Velazquez back to ride.

After winning the Donn by a nose over Mission Impazible, Hymn Book was fourth to Alternation in the Oaklawn Handicap. Owned by Stuart Janney III, the gelding has won seven of 15 career starts for $621,187.

In post position order here is the complete field for the Pimlico Special: Toby's Corner, Eddie Castro, 6-1; Endorsement, Martin Garcia, 8-1; Hymn Book, John Velazquez, 4-1; Cherokee Artist, Victor Santiago, 15-1; Nehro, Corey Nakatani, 8-1; Mission Impazible, Javier Castellano, 7-2; Yawanna Twist, Mike Luzzi, 12-1; Alternation, Luis Quinonez, 4-1 and Eighttofasttocatch, Sheldon Russell, 15-1.

Post-time for the Pimlico Special is scheduled for 5:51 p.m. (et).

Absent from the schedule the last three years. the Pimlico Special has been won by top racehorses such as Invasor, Mineshaft, Real Quiet and Skip Away.

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