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May 25, 2012

Alternation captures revived Pimlico Special


Baltimore, MD (Sports Network) - Oaklawn Handicap winner Alternation held off Nehro at the wire to capture Friday's $300,000 Pimlico Special at Pimlico Race Course. Run for the first time since 2008, the 1 3/16 mile race was held the day before and at the same distance as the Preakness Stakes.

At post-time Mission Impazible was the 5-2 favorite in the nine horse field. Hymn Book and Alternation were each 4-1 with Toby's Corner going off at 5-1.

Endorsement set the pace followed by Yawanna Twist and Alternation. Toby's Corner was running just off the pace along with Cherokee Artist.

Endorsement, ridden by Martin Garcia, still had the lead as the field came into the stretch. Mission Impazible was right along side with Alternation.

Alternation and jockey Luis Quinonez edged to the lead as Nehro made a charge. Trained by Donnie Von Hemel, Alternation nosed out Nehro for his fourth straight victory.

"This looked like a good next step for him," said Von Hemel. "We liked the distance and the type of race it is. It's a race with a lot of tradition and history and it will set him up nicely for the Stephen Foster."

Pacesetter Endorsement finished third followed by Mission Impazible, Hymn Book, Yawanna Twist, Toby's Corner, Cherokee Artist and Eighttofasttocatch.

Alternation covered the distance in 1:57.60 on a fast track.

Undefeated in all four starts this year, Alternation added $180,000 to his earnings and has claimed eight of 13 career starts. The four-year-old colt, owned by Pin Oak Stable, has banked better than $900,000.

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, the Santa Anita Handicap champ.

Alternation returned $10.20, $5.00 and $3.80. Nehro paid $5.60 and $4.40, and Endorsement paid $6.80 to show.

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.

Earlier on the program, In Lingerie overcame a poor start to defeat stablemate Disposablepleasure to win the $300,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, the sister race to the Preakness. Ridden by John Velazquez, the filly covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:52.07 on a fast track.

Even-money favorite Mamma Kimbo set the pace with Mike Smith in the saddle. In Lingerie, trained by Todd Pletcher, was racing well off the leader after stumbling when the gate opened.

Owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber, In Lingerie reached the front at the top of the stretch and went on to defeat Disposablepleasure by 1 1/4 lengths.

"She stumbled there, but she got a good position in the first turn," note Velazquez. "I just wanted to get good position into the first turn, and we did and after that it was pretty easy for us."

Wildcat's Smile held on for third followed by Mamma Kimbo, Glinda the Good, Welcome Guest, Zucchini Flower, Plum and Oaks Lily.

The victory was worth $180,000 to bring the three-year-old's career earnings to $162,265. In Lingerie won the Bourbonette Oaks at Turfway Park on March 24 after running second to Zo Impressive in an optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 25. She began her career with a maiden win in January.

"She ran a very credible race the first time we ran her," Pletcher said. "She missed the break and got some dirt in her face for the first time, and finished up well to a really nice filly, so we were pleased with that.

"We went back to Turfway, and she won pretty convincingly there. We flirted with the idea of the Kentucky Oaks, but we felt like, with a filly that had only had three starts, that perhaps this was a better progression for her."

In Lingerie paid $9.80, $5.00 and $4.80. Disposablepleasure returned $7.20 and $6.00, and Wildcat's Smile paid $8.60 to show.

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