BALTIMORE, MD – Saturday’s $200,000 Chick Lang Stakes at Pimlico Race Course was dominated by the speedy Mitole who wired the field winning by just over 6 lengths. The three-year-old sprinter, trained by Steve Asmussen, has now won three consecutive races and has never finished out of the money in his seven career starts.
Both Mitole and Pure Shot broke well from the gate and sprung to the front to set the early pace. The first fraction was a surprisingly fast :21.67 across the muddy Pimlico dirt. The blistering early pace quickly settled as the second fraction came back as a more comfortable :45.93. As they entered the turn, Old Time Revival drew along the pace-setting pair as they sped toward the stretch in a three-wide duel for the lead. But Mitole, with jockey Ricardo Santana aboard, had nothing to worry about. As they hit the top of the stretch, the 2-4 favorite Mitole drew away with ease, proving he was much the best and leaving the field to compete for a distant second. The remainder of the field spread out down the stretch, hoping to find a firm footing on the muddy track. Still Having Fun was the best of the rest, finishing a strong second. He was followed by Clouded Judgement in third and Pure Shot in fourth.
Jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. said of Mitole after the race, “He’s one of my favorite horses. He’s very special. We were a little worried about the track, but he broke really well. And he broke so good I just sat and waited and on the turn for home he just ran away from them.”
This was the second stakes win of the day for the pair of jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr. and trainer Steve Asmussen, the first coming in Tap Daddy’s victory in the $100,000 James W. Murphy.
“He’s fast. Wow. He’s a special horse, he really is. His confidence level has gotten better, just the way he comes into a race, and acts during it, has been spectacular the past two or three races. He was solid and nice and ran some good races, but he was a horse that carried quite a bit of weight and ran solid, and got better.” Said Asmussen. “Ricardo has done a wonderful job with him away from the gate. He was in hand and traveling well today. That’s made the difference.”
Mitole returned $2.80 to win, $2.40 to place, and $2.20 to show. Still Having Fun brought back $5.40 to place and $3.60 to show, while Clouded Judgement paid $5.40 to show.