June 12, 2024

Pyrenees outfinishes Kingsbarns in Pimlico Special; Shotgun Hottie romps in Allaire duPont

Pyrenees scaled the heights in the Pimlico Special (Photo by Jeff Snyder/Maryland Jockey Club)

Blue Heaven Farm’s homebred Pyrenees made his stakes debut a winning one in Friday’s $250,000 Pimlico Special (G3), overhauling odds-on Kingsbarn in deep stretch. Trained by Cherie Devaux, who won three stakes at Pimlico Friday, the four-year-old colt stretched his win streak to four and traveled 1 3/16 miles in 1:57.73 with Brian Hernandez Jr.

Harlocap showed speed from the innermost post at the break and Kingsbarn joined him two-wide entering the first turn, as Hernandez guided Pyrenees toward the rail for a ground-saving trip behind the leaders. The pace was slow (:25.46, :50.26, and 1:15.57) and Pyrenees tipped wide for the stretch drive. Kingsbarn grinded his way to a short lead in midstretch, but Pyrenees had all the momentum late, surging to win going away by about a length.

He was off as the 5.10-1 third choice.

By Into Mischief, Pyrenees needed five starts to break his maiden, graduating at Fair Grounds in mid-December, and he captured an entry-level allowance at the New Orleans track a month later. The rapidly progressing bay led all the way in his previous outing, convincingly winning a conditioned allowance at Keeneland following a freshening, and Pyrenees switched back to rating tactics and improved his career record to 8-4-1-1.

The Kentucky-bred is out of the Grade 3-winning Newfoundland mare Our Khrysty, a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Bulls Bay, and Pyrenees counts 2021 Del Mar Debutante (G1) winner Grace Adler as a half-sister.

The Pimlico Special highlighted a pair of dirt stakes on Friday’s Black-Eyed Susan (G2) undercard at Pimlico and Devaux trained both winners. She also sent out She Feels Pretty to win the Hilltop on turf.

In the $100,000 Allaire duPont Distaff, Shotgun Hottie returned to the winner’s circle with a dominant performance, scoring by 5 3/4 lengths. Paco Lopez guided the 4-5 favorite for owners Omar Aldabbagh and Jeff Ganje, and the six-year-old mare completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.60.

DeVaux took over her training last year and Shotgun Hottie completed 2023 on a strong note, recording wins in the Molly Pitcher (G3) and Lady’s Secret at Monmouth Park. Unfortunately, she was sidelined in late July. She returned this season with three consecutive unplaced finishes in Oaklawn Park stakes, including a fourth in the Apple Blossom (G1) on April 13, but rebounded stylishly Friday.

She’s now bankrolled $926,557 from a 19-6-4-2 career line.

Bred in Kentucky by Vincent Colbert, Shotgun Hottie was purchased for $45,000 at the 2021 OBS April two-year-old sale. The daughter of Gun Runner hails from the unraced Malibu Moon mare Re Entry, a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Sky Diva.

Musical Mischief took a brief lead on the far turn before being passed by Shotgun Hottie, who stalked the early action in third, and Musical Mischief easily held second by 3 1/4 lengths over late-running Queen of Missoula, who edged 3-1 second choice Julia Shining by a neck for third. The early pacesetter, Lacie Be Good, came next in fifth and was followed by Western Lane and Intrepid Dream.