Lightly regarded Valid Doge surprised a crowd of 12,613 at Pimlico Race Course today, winning the $33,250 Flocarline Handicap by a half length over Scotch Heather.
Sent to the post at 28-to-1 odds, Valid Doge took the lead from eight rivals around the first turn, held off a challenge from Native Derby into the stretch and withstood a late rush from Scotch Heather and Hatched to win the $21,613 first prize.
Scotch Heather, second choice at 2-1, ran in last place along the rail until the quarter-mile pole, where Donald Miller Jr. swung her out and rallied her on the outside. The belated surge was enough to defeat Hatched by a neck for second but posed no threat to Valid Doge, who ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:45 2/5 over a fast track.
Owned By All, the 9-to-5 favorite who had won this race the last two years, finished fifth.
Ridden by Paul Nicol Jr., Valid Doge paid $58.80 to win and helped produce a Pick Six carryover pool of $82,302.
The $1 million Jersey Derby, a mile-and-a-quarter test at Garden State Park featuring Preakness winner Snow Chief, will be simulcast as Pimlico's 10th race Monday. Among Snow Chief's 10 challengers will be 2-year-old champion Tasso, Gotham Stakes winner Mogambo, Cherry Hill Handicap winner Bordeaux Bob, Garden State Stakes winner Fobby Forbes and Maryland-based Miracle Wood