High-weighted Robsphere won his fourth straight race today, the $100,000-added Dixie Handicap at Pimlico, by nearly two lengths over fast-closing Present The Colors.
It was another half-length back to Rich And Ready in third position.
Robsphere has finished in the money in eight of his nine starts.
Jockey Jorge Velaquez allowed Robsphere to lag while clear in the early stages of the 1 1/2-mile turf classic, then sent him up to challenge with a half-mile remaining.
The son of Roberto discouraged the highly regarded Shoot A Line, then gamely withstood challenges from Rich And Ready and Present The Colors under his 120-pound impost.
Robsphere returned $5 and capped a 3-2 exacta worth $66.80. The running time was 2:30 1/5 over a firm turf course.
Velasquez said, "We had to discourage that good filly Shoot The Line, then hold together for the end. He finished real good."
In the race preceding the Dixie, Preakness hopeful Conquistador Cielo ran around the pacesetting Double No to win his first distance race by three lengths in a creditable 1:44 1/5 for the 1 1/16 miles.
Trainer Woody Stephens was noncommittal as to whether the son of Mr. Prospector would run in Saturday's Preakness.
He said, "Jockey Ed Maple tells me the colt was tired at the end and that could be good or bad. We'll watch him for a few days. You don't want to throw him to the wolves before he's ready. If he comes back, it will be on Thursday and he'll accompany a filly who'll run in the Black Eyed Susan."
The crowd of 12,789 wagered $1,712,178 on the nine-race card.