The Pimlico Race Course song starts with the phrase, "It's spring and it's time for the Preakness. . ." That familiar battle cry will be heard starting Monday when Old Hilltop opens its gates for the 109th time in Baltimore. The meet runs through June.
Pimlico's opening-day feature will be the 10the running of the Politely Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, going six furlongs.
Included in the 76-day meeting will be the 104th running of the $200,000-added Preakness Staaes, middle jewel of the Triple Crown, May 19. The Preakness is one of three races on the schedule worth $100,000 or more. In all, there will be 20 stakes races valued at more than $1 million.
Probable favorite for the $34,250 Politely will be be Heavy Sugar will be ridden by Mark Drury and will carry 118 pounds.
Others with good credentials are A Realgirl, One Ambition and Dottie B.
A Realgirl won the Bryn Mawr at Keystone last month under James Edwards, saddling her with a 118-pound impost.
One Ambition, a speed horse, won her last start at Bowie by more than a length over well-regarded Dottie B.
Completing the 14-horse field are Its Possible, Top Storm, Salerno's Angel, La Chocla, Skagerrak, Royal Re Re, rail Ride, Piorette, Judlin and Hit It Rich.
The jockey colony will include such familiar names as Bill Passmore, Don Brumfield, John Adams, Mark Drury, Herb Hinojosa, Tom Kupfer, Gregg McCarron, Hector Pilar, Danny Wright, Bill Nemeti and Mike Torre. The apprentice riders include Chris Baker, Mario Pino and Abrry Mackaben.