Canadian Horse of the Year Up With the Birds takes on highweights Hamp and Hey Leroy May 17 in the $400,000 Longines Dixie Stakes at Pimlico Race Course, while looking to rebound from a disappointing season debut last time out.
Roger J. Weiss's Hudson Steele, who captured Pimlico's Henry S. Clark Stakes in his return from a year-long layoff, followed up with another convincing display in Saturday's Grade 2, $300,000 Dixie Stakes over the same course.
One race before trainer Graham Motion saddles Went the Day Well in the May 19 Preakness at Pimlico Race Course, the 2011 Kentucky Derby winning conditioner will send out Augustin Stable's homebred Smart Bid, the 7-2 overnight favorite in the Dixie Stakes.
Grade 1 winner Paddy O'Prado, who sustained a sesamoid injury in his May 21 victory in the Grade 2 Dixie Stakes, has been retired after a career in which he posted five wins, three seconds, and three thirds from 15 starts, with earnings of $1,721,297.
Apart ($4.40), the favorite, prevailed under jockey Garrett Gomez after a prolonged stretch battle, covering 1 1/16 miles on a fast, but dull, main track in 1:43.70. Icabad Crane was another 1 1/2 lengths back in third.
When his 19-1 shot Pays to Dream seemed to be running in place during the Dixie Stakes on the Preakness undercard at Pimlico, "I thought it was time to start looking for his next race," recalled trainer David Donk.
Pays to Dream launched a bold bid along the inside on the far turn and drew off after collaring the front-runners in upper stretch to post an emphatic 19-1 upset in Saturday's Grade 2, $250,000 Dixie Stakes at Pimlico.