Catholic Boy, a Grade 1 winner on both turf and dirt, is one of 19 graded-stakes winners among 38 horses nominated to the 118th running of the $250,000 Maker’s Mark Dixie (G2) for 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/16 miles on the grass.
Catholic Boy, a Grade 1 winner on both turf and dirt, is one of 19 graded-stakes winners among 38 horses nominated to the 118th running of the $250,000 Maker’s Mark Dixie (G2) for 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/16 miles on the grass. (Pimlico Race Course)

A total of 268 horses were nominated to the eight stakes, four graded, worth $1.15 million in purses that support the 144th running of the Preakness Stakes, the middle jewel of the Triple Crown series May 18 at Pimlico Race Course.

The $1.5 million Preakness will anchor nine stakes, five graded, worth $2.65 million in purses on a 14-race program that begins with a 10:30 a.m. first post. The Preakness will be Race 13 with a post time of 6:48 p.m.

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Catholic Boy, a Grade 1 winner on both turf and dirt, is one of 19 graded-stakes winners among 38 horses nominated to the 118th running of the $250,000 Maker’s Mark Dixie (G2) for 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/16 miles on the grass.

Digest (May 8): Pimlico's 12-day meet opens Thursday

Championship racing returns to Pimlico Race Course on Thursday for the opening of its 12-day Preakness Meet at Pimlico, highlighted by the 144th running of the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes on May 18.

A winner of six of 10 starts and more than $1.8 million in purses, Catholic Boy has not raced since having a three-race win streak ended in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). All three wins came in graded-stakes, led by the Travers (G1) on dirt and Belmont Derby Invitational (G1) on grass, both at 1 1/4 miles.

Also prominent among Dixie nominees are millionaires Delta Prince, winner of the Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) April 12 at Keeneland; 2016 and 2017 Woodford Reserve Turf (G1) winner Divisidero; and multiple graded-stakes winner Om; as well as Blacktype, third in the 2017 Dixie who owns 12 career wins, four in graded-stakes, and $973,335 in purse earnings; Argentinian Group 1 winner The Great Day; 2017 Maryland-bred Horse of the Year Just Howard and two-time Maryland Million Turf winner Phlash Phelps.

The $150,000 ClearSpan Maryland Sprint (G3) for 3-year-olds and up at 6 furlongs drew 31 nominations including 2016 winner Always Sunshine; multiple stakes winners Lewisfield, Laki and Fellowship, all of whom ran in last year’s race; and Do Share, winner of the Tom Fool (G3) March 9 at Aqueduct coming off a fourth-place finish in the Churchill Downs (G1) May 4.

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Kentucky Derby (G1)-winning trainer Graham Motion won last year’s $150,000 Stella Artois Gallorette (G3) for fillies and mares ages 3 and up at 1 1/16 miles on the grass with Ultra Brat, and this year has multiple graded-stakes winner Thewayiam among the 27 horses nominated. Other graded winners include Barkaa, Bellavais, Got Stormy, Holy Helena, I’m So Fancy and Mom’s On Strike, along with two-time defending Maryland Million Ladies winner My Sistersledge.

In addition to the Preakness, 3-year-olds will be in the spotlight in both the $200,000 Chick Lang at 6 furlongs and $100,000 Earle I. Mack Foundation Sir Barton to benefit the TAA and Man o’ War Project at 1 1/16 miles. The Chick Lang, named for the late racing industry legend known as ‘Mr. Preakness,’ was promoted to Grade 3 status for 2019.

The Chick Lang attracted 33 nominees including 2018 Hopeful (G1) winner Mind Control, 2018 Bashford Manor (G3) winner Sir Truebador, multiple graded-stakes winner Call Paul, stakes winners Frosted Ice, Gladiator King, Hawaiian Noises, Malpais, Mr Money Bags, Nitrous, Strike Silver and Zenden, and Still Dreaming, half-brother to Florida Derby (G1) and Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist.

Derby winner Country House won't run in the Preakness Stakes, in another blow to Pimlico

Country House, the 65-1 longshot who was handed a Kentucky Derby victory by disqualification, will not run in the May 18 Preakness Stakes because of a developing illness, the first time in 23 years that the Derby winner will not compete for the second jewel in the Triple Crown.

Top Line Growth, an impressive 9 1/2-length front-running debut winner April 22 at Laurel Park, is among 39 horses nominated to the Sir Barton, named for racing’s first Triple Crown champion whose ground-breaking achievement celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. Top Line Growth is a Kelly Rubley-trained stablemate of Alwaysmining, a winner of six straight races, five in stakes, who will make his next start in the Preakness.

Maryland-bred Knicks Go, winner of the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) in 2018, is nominated to make his turf debut in the $100,000 James W. Murphy for sophomores going one mile, while the $100,000 The Very One for females 3 and up at 5 furlongs on grass similarly attracted 39 nominations.

New to the lineup this year is the $100,000 Ole Smoky Moonshine Searching Stakes for fillies and mares 3 and up going 1 1/2 miles on the grass. Among its 22 nominees are April 26 Bewitch (G3) winner Ickymasho; Group 3 winner Gaining; and Giant Zinger, third in a pair of Grade 3 stakes this spring.

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