April 23, 2024

Jaxon Traveler, Strike Power among Asmussen contingent in Preakness undercard dirt stakes

Jaxon Traveler easily captured the April 24 Bachelor S. at Oaklawn Park (photo by Coady Photography)

Four dirt stakes for Thoroughbreds will be offered on Saturday’s Preakness undercard at Pimlico.

$200,000 Chick Lang S. (G3) – Race 3 (11:41 a.m. ET)

A four-time winner of the $200,000 Chick Lang S. (G3), Steve Asmussen seeks to pad his record with a pair of top contenders, Jaxon Traveler and Mighty Mischief, in the six-furlong test for three-year-olds.

Jaxon Traveler heads the six-horse field. A 2 3/4-length winner of the April 24 Bachelor S. at Oaklawn Park, the once-beaten Munnings colt has led wire-to-wire in all four wins, his lone setback being a head second in the Gazebo S. after failing to make the early lead. The dark bay figures to be hustling with new rider Irad Ortiz Jr.

Mighty Mischief will bring a two-race win streak to his stakes debut, romping over maiden special weight and entry-level allowance competition at Oaklawn Park. Ricardo Santana Jr. has the call on the exciting Into Mischief colt.

Hall of Famer Asmussen has won two of the last three runnings of the Chick Lang, including the 2020 edition with Yaupon.

Private Terms S. upsetter Shackled Love, sixth most recently in the Federico Tesio S., and last-out Laurel allowance scorer Hemp are also part of the mix.

$150,000 Maryland Sprint S. (G3) – Race 11 (4:41 p.m. ET)

Bettors will have options when 11 older sprinters square off in the $150,000 Maryland Sprint S. (G3) at six furlongs. Special Reserve and Strike Power are candidates for favoritism.

Special Reserve will show speed with new pilot Irad Ortiz. The 5-year-old returned immediate dividends after being claimed for $40,000 two starts back, posting a sharp wire-to-wire allowance win an Oaklawn Park and a runner-up effort in the Commonwealth S. (G3) at Keeneland for Mike Maker. Last time, Special Reserve was run down in the latter stages by Flagstaff, who came back to win the Churchill Downs S. (G1) on the Kentucky Derby undercard.

Grade 3 victor Strike Power recorded an impressive front-running allowance win at Oaklawn two back, and the 6-year-old Asmussen runner should appreciate the class relief following a respectable fourth in the Count Fleet Sprint H. (G3) at Oaklawn Park. Santana has the reins.

Laki and Lebda, the respective top two finishers in April 24 Frank Whitely S. at Pimlico, are both back for the Maryland Sprint. Other contenders include Breezy Gust, who registered multiple triple-digit Brisnet Speed ratings when reeling off three straight wins at Parx earlier this season; Ournationonparade; Seven Nation Army; and Yodel E. A. Who.

$100,000 Skipat S. – Race 9 (3:25 p.m. ET)

Chub Wagon will test her skills against open stakes foes in the $100,000 Skipat S. at six furlongs. Unbeaten from five starts, the four-year-old filly exits a 7 1/2-length victory over Pennsylvania-bred foes in the April 27 Unique Bella S. at Parx.

Trained by Guadalupe Preciado, Chub Wagon has won all her starts wire-to-wire by a combined 32 1/4 lengths. Irad Ortiz picks up the assignment on the daughter of Hay Chub.

French Empire will make her stakes debut with a four-race win streak, and the six-year-old mare has been sold privately and transferred to Brad Cox since winning her last outing over Oaklawn allowance foes at odds-on. Javier Castellano

Dontletsweetfoolya reeled off five straight triumphs, including a Pimlico allowance and a pair of Laurel stakes, before a seventh in the Barbara Fritchie S. (G3) in late February. The four-year-old filly will look to rebound for Lacey Gaudet, and Jevian Toledo retains the mount.

Other meriting consideration include Barbara Fritchie third Club Call, who exits a four-length Keeneland allowance score for Ben Colebrook; multiple stakes-placed Casual from the Asmussen barn; and stakes runner-up Call On Mischief.

$100,000 Sir Barton S. – Race 1 (10:30 a.m. ET)

Rebel S. (G2) runner-up Hozier will be favored among six three-year-olds in the $100,000 Sir Barton S. at 1 1/16 miles. A convincing maiden winner in mid-February, the Pioneerof the Nile colt was under consideration for the Kentucky Derby after his commendable effort in the Rebel, but Hozier was rerouted after weakening to be a well-beaten last of six in the Arkansas Derby (G1) on April 15.

Joel Rosario will be up.

Romp is the main rival. The Orb colt romped when dropping into the maiden claiming ranks two starts back, and he will bring a two-race win skein to his first stakes attempt for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, comfortably taking an entry-level allowance at Aqueduct in mid-April. Jose Ortiz rides.

Market Cap and The King Cheek are also entered.