Best known for scratching the day before the Kentucky Derby (G1), enabling 80-1 upsetter Rich Strike to make the field from the also-eligible list, Ethereal Road will use Saturday’s $100,000 Sir Barton S. as a springboard to a possible berth in the final leg of the Triple Crown, the June 11 Belmont S. (G1).
The 1 1/16-mile Sir Barton is one of four dirt stakes on Saturday’s Preakness Day undercard at Pimlico, and Ethereal Road heads a field of 10 three-year-olds. Trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, Ethereal Road just missed when finishing second in the Rebel (G2) three starts previously, and the Quality Road colt exits a fourth in the Lexington (G3) at Keeneland. Luis Saez rides.
Last-out allowance winners Goldenize, The Addison Pour, and Ruggs, and Federico Tesio runner-up Mr Jefferson are also entered.
Old Homestead, unbeaten from three starts following a 3 3/4-length romp in the April 8 Lafayette S. at Keeneland, will square off against eight sophomore sprinters in the $200,000 Chick Lang (G3) at six furlongs. His rivals include Chasing Time, Cogburn, Lightening Larry, Old Vic, and Whelen Springs.
In the $100,000 Maryland Sprint (G3), Mr Phil and Jaxon Traveler are top contenders following 1-2 finish in an April 21 allowance at Aqueduct. Mr Phil has won two straight since being claimed by Rob Atras, and Jaxon Traveler finished second in last year’s Chick Lang for Steve Asmussen.
Disco Pharoah, a convincing winner of the April 16 Frank Whitely S. at Laurel Park, also merits respect. Trained by Raymond Handal, the four-year-old gelding will receive his toughest test yet, and Jevian Toledo pilots.
Grade 2 scorer Cilla and multiple stakes winner Joy’s Rocket highlight 10 fillies and mares in the $100,000 Skipat S. at six furlongs.