BALTIMORE, JUNE 8 -- Without saying a word, Pimlico racing secretary Larry Abbundi has pronounced Saturday's Lady Baltimore Handicap an open race.
The inference comes from Abbundi's weight assignments for the 1 1/16-mile turf race at Pimlico -- only three pounds separate eight older females. In handicap races, the director of racing assigns weights in an attempt to equalize horses' abilities.
Abbundi considers the Lady Baltimore field a well-matched one even without weight concessions.
"If you ran the same race on seven different days," Abbundi said, "you'd probably get seven different winners."
Double Bunctious is the program favorite at 5-2, with a hot stable behind her. Trainer Dale Capuano, who ended a 20-day suspension last Saturday, has won at least one race in each of the past four programs. Special Kell's runaway in today's sixth race was engineered by jockey Edgar Prado, who rode for the first time since Tuesday's training spill.
Double Bunctious, given a race-high 113 pounds with Cutlasee, is the most established of the field on turf, which isn't saying much. She's won three of nine grass races; none of the others has more than one turf victory, and four have had one or fewer turf starts in their careers.