BALTIMORE, MD – MCA Racing Stable’s Harpers First Ride dispatched of the 3/5 favorite Owendale in the stretch to win Friday’s $250,000 Pimlico Special Stakes (G3).
Harpers First Ride broke from the far outside post 9 under Angel Cruz at 5/1 odds and successfully cleared all inner rivals to ride the rail heading into the clubhouse turn.
Owendale pressured him along the outside and the two dueled heads apart through fractions of :24.41, :48.41, 1:12.11, and 1:35.94 throughout the opening mile.
After pulling away from the rest of the field in the far turn, the front-runners straightened for home still fighting step for step. Owendale was the first to give, doing so near the 1/8 pole and allowing Harpers First Ride to pull away in the stretch.
The Claudio Gonzalez trainee crossed 2 lengths clear, completing the 1 3/16-mile fast dirt route in 1:54.97.
Though he weakened in the final furlong, Owendale held second by a 1/2-length over Cordmaker, who headed defending race champion Tenfold for third.
Forewarned, Someday Jones, and Clubman completed the order of finish.
Monongahela and Plus Que Parfait were scratched.
Harpers First Ride’s win was his second straight following the Deputed Testimony Stakes at Laurel Park and his first at the graded level. The Maryland-bred 4-year-old Paynter gelding, claimed for $30,000 out of his maiden-breaking second career start, improved his overall record to 14-8-1-1 with $422,080 earned.
Harpers First Ride returned $13 to win, $4.40 to place, and $3.20 to show. Owendale brought back $2.40 to place and $2.10 to show, while Cordmaker paid $3.60 to show.