Graham Motion's day got off to a good start when he saddled a winner in the first race. Technique, who went off at 7-1 and was ridden by Edgar Prado, won by at least two lengths.
Technique paid $14 to win.
Katherine Sancuk's No Brakes rallied from next-to-last to win the $25,000 Deputed Testamony Starter Handicap, the first of nine stakes on Preakness Day.
Xavier Perez rode the 6-year-old gelding — who finished fifth in the race last year and was claimed for $5,000 by his present connections in March — pulled ahead near the 16th marker and narrowly beat Money For Love to the finish.
"I claimed this horse specifically for this race," said Sancuk, the owner and trainer. "He runs hard every time. He gives you a heart attack because he was so far out of it. It scared me to death."
Motion earned his second win of the day, this time with Golden Causeway, which was ridden by Ramon A. Dominguez and paid $6.
Super Espresso, owned by celebrity chef Bobby Flay, swept around the pack and roared down the stretch to win the $100,000 Allaire DuPont Distaff Stakes at Pimlico.
Jockey Ramon Dominguez rode Super Espresso past Payton d'Oro near the wire to win by three-quarters of a length.
Super Espresso had struggled on turf in her last race.
"If you take out her last race on turf, she's been a steadily improving filly," trainer Todd Pletcher said. "She trained well leading up to this, so we're not shocked that she ran well."
Dominguez was concerned that he would not reach Paton d'Oro, who had a clean trip, but Super Espresso had enough left at the end.
"She ran just the way Todd expected," he said. "She's got a beautiful long stride on her and I just kept her together. They went quick enough early on where it was helpful, but she just continued coming. I don't feel like they were really collapsing in front of her. She was closing."
Toni's the Won was, in fact, the winner. Ridden by Julian Pimentel, the Kieron Magee-trained entry beat Perfect Measure in a photo finish, and paid $10.20.
Vengeful Wildcat caught pacesetter Chipshot and took the lead in mid-stretch to win the $100,000 Chick Lang Stakes.
Under Jockey Carlos Marquez Jr., Vengeful Wildcat prevailed by a neck in the spring for 3-year-olds. A winner of three races in five starts, Vengeful Wildcat is trained by Ben Perkins Jr., and paid $6.40.
"He's a pretty honest little sucker," Perkins said. "Carlos fits him well. He knows the horse completely. He broke well and ran well. He's a very tractable horse."
Marquez Jr. knew that he had a horse who could run anywhere on the track, and was able to find the fastest part of the track.
"This is a horse you can put pretty much anywhere," he said. "I've been watching the races since [Friday]. You can close, but the speed just isn't holding and the inside isn't the best spot. So I tried to put him on the best part of the racetrack. Turning for home, he switched leads. When he put his head in front, I knew it was ours. Each time he gets better and better."
Chinglish, ridden by Animal Kingdom jockey John Velazquez, won the $100,000 James W. Murphy Stakes, edging Humble and Hungry by almost three lengths.
Trained by Mark Hennig, Chinglish paid $19.60.
"I was pretty confident when I saw him going around the first turn, because he was a lot closer than he's been in some races," Hennig said. "He'd been a bit of a clown in his early races, but the blinkers helped with that."
Ventana, trained by Bob Baffert, prevailed down the stretch to win the $100,000 AMResorts Maryland Sprint Handicap.
The win was not without controversy. Second-place jockey Travis Dunkelberger, who rode Immortal Eyes, claimed that Martin Garcia had interfered during the late stages of the stretch run. The stewards did not rule in his favor. Ventana won by a neck and paid $5.20.
"I think the other horse and I were pretty close, but I corrected right away," Garcia said. "It looked like I had contact, but I really didn't. It's been a while since I won on him, so it felt good."
No Explaining came off the rail to win the $100,000 Omnilife Gallorette Handicap on the turf.
Shared Account, who last year pulled off the biggest upset in the history of the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf, closed from off the pace but ultimately finished fourth in her 2011 debut. Owned by Under Armour founder Kevin Plank (Sagamore Farms) and trained by Motion, she gave up 10-13 pounds.
John Velazquez got another win aboard No Explaining, who paid $8.80.
"It was a perfect trip," he said. "There were a couple of speedy horses in there and I had to bide my time thinking that the good horses are coming from behind anyway. At the quarter pole, I put her in the clear and she put in a good fight. She was much better today than when I rode her last year, definitely. She was more professional, more willing to do it and handled the track much better."
Apart overtook Colizeo down the stretch to with the $100,000 William Donald Schaefer Memorioal by a neck.
Jockey Garrett Gomez, who also won the race last year, circled three wide into the lane to overtake Colizeo, a Todd Pletcher-trained entry who led from the beginning.
"I wanted to sit back a little and just make one run with him," Gomez said. "When the pace slowed down a little to my liking, I was able to edge up a little closer to [Colizeo]. I always felt I had him within range. He traveled well. When we turned for home, I felt pretty good. I just had to reach down and give him a little love tap to make sure he didn't fall asleep."
Apart is a four-time stakes winner.
Paddy O'Prado rallied from last in a slow-paced field to win the $200,000 Dixie Stakes.
Kent Desormeaux had the gray colt drop back at the start of the 110th running of the Dixie, but pushed him around the far turn. Paddy O'Prado caught frontrunner Baryshnikov and won by one-and-a-half lengths, paying 3.20.
Paddy O'Prado, who finished sixth in last year's Preakness, was saddled by Dale Romans, the trainer of this year's winner Shackleford.
"I wasn't comfortable until they hit the wire," Romans said. "He's amazing. It makes no difference — Grade 1 race on Poly, the Classic on dirt, multiple-stakes wins on turf — he's just a phenomenal horse. This is the start of a great year, I hope."
Sacred Soul took a wide far turn before taking the lead midstretch and running away from the field to edge out Sunshine Law with Edgar Prado in the final race of the day.
Sacred Soul, with Jonathan Joyce aboard, paid $8.20 to win.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times