‘Hotbrown’ gives Maker a stakes quartet on Preakness Weekend
BALTIMORE – Skychai Racing and Sand Dollar Stable’s Somelikeithotbrown continued trainer Mike Maker’s Preakness Weekend to remember by setting a course record wwhile notching his third career graded-stakes victory in Saturday’s $250,000 Dinner Party (G2) at Pimlico Race Course.
The 120th running of the 1 1/16-mile Dinner Party for 3-year-olds and up on the grass was the eighth of 10 stakes, six graded, worth $2.25 million in purses on a spectacular 14-race program headlined by the 146th Preakness Stakes (G1), Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.
Pimlico’s oldest stakes race and the eighth-oldest in the country, the Dinner Party was contested at two miles for its 1870 debut, won by the Hall of Famer Preakness. The distance has changed eight times over its history, settling at the current 1 1/16 miles in 2014.
Somelikeithotbrown ($7.60) covered a firm turf course in 1:40.09, breaking the Pimlico course record of 1:40.24 set June 11, 2016 by 4-year-old Inside Out, who was a year younger and carried two fewer pounds than Somelikeithotbrown’s 122.
The 5-year-old son of 2008 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness (G1) winner Big Brown was the second stakes win of the day following Special Reserve in the $150,000 Maryland Sprint (G3) for Maker, who on Friday captured the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2) with Army Wife and historic $250,000 Pimlico Special (G3) with Last Judgment.
Jockey Jose Ortiz was aboard for his third win on the day. He let Somelikeithotbrown settle in second as 25-1 long shot Flying Scotsman was left alone to go a quarter-mile in 23.78 seconds and a half in 47.33 before Somelikeithotbrown began to turn up the pressure midway around the far turn.
Flying Scotsman clung to a short lead after going six furlongs in 1:10.52 but Ortiz and Somelikeithotbrown quickly assumed command and gained enough separation to hold off a furious run from several challengers and win by a length. Talk Or Listen edged Midnight Tea Time by a head for second, while 6-5 favorite Sacred Life and 2020 Saranac (G3) winner Bye Bye Melvin dead-heated for fourth, another half-length back.
It was the second turf course record set on the Preakness undercard. Two races earlier, Firecrow ran five furlongs in 55.30 seconds to win the $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint.
Somelikeithotbrown won for the seventh time in 19 career starts and pushed his bankroll to $842,838. He previously won the 2020 Bernard Baruch (G2) on turf at Saratoga and the 2019 Jeff Ruby (G2) over Turfway Park’s all-weather surface, and was second by 2 ¾ lengths to Factor This in last year’s Dinner Party.
$250,000 Dinner Party (G2) Quotes
Winning Trainer Mike Maker (Somelikeithotbrown): “Jose and I talked about it. Last time that horse [Flying Scotsman] broke a step slow, came to our outside and he never settled in the Maker’s Mark and it cost him in the end. I told Jose, ‘If the horse goes, let’s see if we can’t get to the outside of him and see you in the winner’s circle.’”
“He just doesn’t seem to fire his A game at Gulfstream. After [the Dec. 12 Fort Lauderdale], we decided just to give him the winter off and point to this year.”
(On thinking this might have clinched the $50K trainer’s bonus) “Well, Steve Asmussen has a lot more starters and placings so it might be a lot closer than people think.”
“I did like most of our horses. We had a couple of others that ran up the track.”
“We have a lot of options. He’s run well at Saratoga multiple times. He’s a New York-bred, so we’ll look at a couple of those races as well.”
Winning Jockey Jose Ortiz (Somelikeithotbrown): “I have ridden this horse before in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf as a 2-year-old, and it has been a long time since I have ridden him. He’s matured a lot. He showed me some speed early on, and I got him to relax on the first turn and that was the key. He relaxed nicely and from the half-mile pole to the 3/8ths pole I was just waiting and waiting and when I asked him to go he did.”
Trainer Arnaud Delacour (Talk Or Listen; 2nd): “They were all bunched up together. I thought we had a great trip. Flavien [Prat] did a great job and the horse was there for him, so I’m delighted. I’ll have to see how he comes back. I wouldn’t mind to run him a little bit longer.”
Jockey Flavien Prat (Talk Or Listen; 2nd): “We had a really good trip. No troubles at all. He made a good move around the turn. He ran a great race.”
Trainer Joe Sharp (Midnight Tea Time; 3rd): “We were really happy. Obviously, this was a big step up from his last race, but he’s just a horse that has continued to move forward as he’s gotten older. [Owner] Frank [Corigliano] has been patient with him and given him the right amount to time and spacing and breaks when he needed them. He just keeps on taking us to fun places and showing up every time. That’s all you can ask for.”
Jockey Javier Castellano (Sacred Life, beaten favorite, 4th): “He tried really hard. Today just wasn’t his day. He is developing himself. I tried hard to get him closer, but he is a European horse and you can’t rush him too much. All his races, he comes from behind. They just didn’t come back to me.”