Alternation chased down a loose on the lead Endorsement then held off the late charge of Nehro for a thrilling nose victory in the $300,000 Pimlico Special (G3), the feature race on the May 18 card (VIDEO
). In the process, the 4-year-old Distorted Humor colt remained undefeated in 2012, with wins in the Grade 2 Oaklawn H., Grade 3 Razorback H., and the Essex H., all at Oaklawn Park.
The Pimlico Special, run at the Preakness distance of 1 3/16 miles, looked as though Endorsement, also by Distorted Humor, might be stole on the front end after six furlongs in 1:10.73 with a three length lead. Meanwhile, Alternation was about three lengths back and well off the rail. He began to make up ground coming into the stretch, finally collaring the leader with less than a sixteenth to go. Nehro was closing from far back, but Alternation dug in to prevail by the narrowest of margins, getting the distance in 1:57.60.
“Wow! That got a little bit tight there at the end. I didn’t know if we got it or not, but fortunately we got the bob,” said winning trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel. “All the superlatives you want to use, he's that kind of horse. He's a top horse, and I think he's in the process of proving that right now. He beat a nice field at Oaklawn and a nice field here. He's top of the list.”
Endorsement, a Pin Oak Stable homebred, has now earned $900,004 after the $180,000 payday. Von Hemel was eying a couple of big races in the handicap division for Alternation's next start.
"I think the Foster (G1, June 16 at Churchill Downs) was probably the race we were looking at the most. I think the Suburban's (G2, July 7 at Belmont Park) coming up. Let's just enjoy this and we'll worry about that in about a week."
Alternation is Distorted Humor's leading earner of 2012, and one of 10 stakes horses by the venerable stallion, who is once again in the top 10 on the General Sire list.