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Plot the Dots Targets Elusive Stakes Win in $100,000 Polynesian
Among Four Closing Weekend Stakes Worth $400,000 in Purses
LAUREL, MD – Danny Chen’s Plot the Dots, placed twice in Maryland stakes this year, faces eight rivals including Grade 2 winner Brooklyn Strong and multiple graded-stakes placed Double Crown as he chases an elusive first stakes victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Polynesian at historic Pimlico Race Course.
The 18th running of the 1 1/16-mile Polynesian for 3-year-olds and up is among four stakes worth $400,000 in purses on an 11-race program that marks the final Saturday of Pimlico’s nine-day fall meet.
First race post time is 12:40 p.m.
On target to lead all Maryland trainers in wins and purse earnings for a sixth consecutive year, Claudio Gonzalez claimed Plot the Dots for $35,000 Feb. 26 at Laurel Park and the 5-year-old gelded son of champion Uncle Mo has been in the money in five of eight subsequent starts. He finished third in the April 23 Native Dancer and second in the July 30 Deputed Testamony, both 1 1/8 miles at Laurel.
“When you see him he’s a beautiful horse, big and strong. That’s what I like. And he has back class. Before we got him he had run some nice races,” Gonzalez said. “All the time the horses he’s been running against are tough, that’s why I want to try him here in Maryland. He doesn’t have to go anywhere. He can be right at home. He loves Maryland.”
Plot the Dots finished seventh in each of past two starts, the Aug. 26 Charles Town Classic (G2) won by Art Collector and a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming allowance Sept. 10 at Monmouth Park where the field included 11-time winner and graded-stakes placed Thomas Shelby, graded winners Golden Brown and Phat Man, and stakes winner King of Dreams.
“The last race he ran at Monmouth, it was a really tough race,” said Gonzalez, who won the Polynesian in 2020 with Eastern Bay. “He didn’t run a bad number and he’s been doing good since. He’s been training good and he came back really good from that race.”
Carlos Lopez is named to ride Plot the Dots from Post 2 in a field of nine.
Mark Schwartz’s Brooklyn Strong won the Remsen (G2) as a 2-year-old in 2020 and was briefly on the 2021 Triple Crown trail, running fifth in the Wood Memorial (G2) and 15th in the Kentucky Derby (G1). Now trained by Victor Barboza Jr., he has run third in his past three starts including the July 10 Saginaw and Aug. 12 Evan Shipman against fellow New York-breds and is cross-entered in Saturday’s Greenwood Cup (G3) at Parx.
Daniel Centeno gets the call from Post 3.
Built Wright Stables’ Double Crown, owned and trained by Norman ‘Lynn’ Cash, was bred in Maryland by Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Bowman and Rebecca Davis and has raced five times in his home state including a September 2019 debut victory at Laurel. In 2020, he won the Roar and Carry Back and was third in the Smile Sprint (G3) at Gulfstream Park and second in the Chick Lang (G3) at Pimlico.
Runner up in the 2021 Maryland Million Sprint, Double Crown was claimed for $40,000 out of a neck loss June 5 in Kentucky and ran second twice more before a sixth in the 5 ½-furlong Ben’s Cat on the Laurel turf July 30. From there he won a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming allowance Aug. 8 on the dirt at Colonial Downs and was fifth in the one-mile, 70-yard Peach Street Aug. 22 over Presque Isle Downs’ all-weather surface behind Carpenters Call’s course-record 1:38.97.
“We had two horses in the race at Colonial. Our other horse [Outlier] ended up running fourth but had the lead and got us a decent pace. Double Crown came right on through and ran pretty big that day,” Cash said. “He ran well in the stake but the horse that won broke the track record … and just didn’t quite have the pace to close into.”
Cash said he wasn’t disappointed in Double Crown’s turf debut in the Ben’s Cat, but felt the distance worked against him. The immediate future is to keep the Bourbon Courage going long.
“He runs good on every surface. He ran good on the turf, we just didn’t have the distance to get him there. He needs it a little longer,” Cash said. “It seems like they stretched him out before I got him and it seemed to be working. Knock on wood, he’s really been running nice for us.”
Cash also owns and trains Treasure Trove, who enters the Polynesian having run fourth in the Deputed Testamony, fifth in the 1 3/16-mile Fort Larned Aug. 13 and eighth in the Charles Town Classic, all since being claimed for $50,000 out of a runner-up finish June 26 at Laurel.
“We threw our hat in the ring last time,” Cash said. “It’s tough when you claim one for 50, you either have to run in stake, open allowance or go back on the tag. We decided to try and hold on to him for a little bit and thew our hat in the ring. He was outgunned for sure, but was I hoping [with] the bullring at Charles Town he could gain some advantage.”
Double Crown will break from Post 5 under Horacio Karamanos, while J.D. Acosta rides Treasure Trove from Post 4.
Rounding out the field are multiple stakes winners Tappin Cat and Sea Foam; Native Dancer winner Rough Sea; Ain’t Da Beer Cold, riding a two-race win streak; and Benevengo, racing first time since finishing fifth behind Cyberknife in the July 23 Haskell (G1) at Monmouth.
The Polynesian is named for the 1945 Preakness (G1) winner that put together a record of 27-10-10 with purse earnings of $310,410 from 1944-47, 16 of his victories coming in stakes. Named the U.S. champion sprinter in 1947, he went on to a successful stud career most notably as the sire of Hall of Famer Native Dancer, the 1953 Preakness winner, and grandsire of 1966 Preakness winner Kauai King.