Three Diamonds Farm’s Field Pass, a Grade 3 winner on both grass and synthetics, will make his eighth consecutive start against graded company and first at Pimlico Race Course in the $200,000 Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup (G3) on July 24.
The 15th running of the one-mile BWI Turf Cup for 3-year-olds and up headlines a nine-race program featuring four grass stakes worth $500,000 in purses. Launched as the Colonial Turf Cup in 2005, it was held at Colonial Downs through 2013 before moving to Laurel Park in 2015 following a one-year hiatus. It returns after not being part of Maryland’s pandemic-shortened 2020 stakes schedule.
Field Pass has gone winless in three races this year including fourths in the Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) April 9 at Keeneland in his 4-year-old debut and last out in the 1 1/16-mile Wise Dan Stakes (G2) June 26, beaten a total of five lengths.
In between, the Lemon Drop Kid colt faded to be last of eight after pressing the pace in the 1 3/8-mile Man o’ War (G1) May 8 at Belmont Park, where he blew out three furlongs in :36 on July 21.
“He’s doing well,” trainer Mike Maker said. “He had a nice, easy work this morning and he’s ready to go.”
Field Pass has raced exclusively in graded company since running third in the American Turf (G2) last September and in nine of his last 12 starts, winning the Jeff Ruby (G3) and 1 1/8-mile Ontario Derby (G3) over all-weather surfaces at Turfway Park and Woodbine respectively last spring and fall, as well as last July’s 1 1/16-mile Transylvania (G3) on the Keeneland turf.
In 19 starts with $608,143 in purse earnings, Field Pass has raced four times at one mile with one win and one third, his victory coming in the Dania Beach on the grass at Gulfstream Park to open his 2020 campaign. Bred in Maryland by Mark Brown Grier, he was beaten a length when fourth as the favorite in the 2019 Laurel Futurity in the only previous trip to his home state.
Victor Carrasco is named to ride from the rail in a field of six at topweight of 124 pounds, two more than each of his rivals.
“I think the class relief will be the main thing. He ran good in the Maker’s Mark off the layoff so the distance isn’t a concern,” Maker said. “It’s still going to be a tough race, but he’s been hooking some tough guys lately so we’re looking forward to it.”
Godolphin homebred Pixelate earned his fifth career win and third in a stakes in the 1 1/8-miles Prince George’s County June 13 at Pimlico, getting a perfectly timed ride to edge Logical Myth by a length.
The 4-year-old City Zip colt won the Del Mar Derby (G2) and Woodchopper in 2020 and this year was beaten a nose for the win in the Henry S. Clark April 24 at Pimlico and three lengths when fifth in the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) Jan. 23 at Gulfstream.
“He came out of the last race great,” trainer Michael Stidham said. “It was great to get him back in the winner’s circle. He deserves it. He runs great every time.”
Feargal Lynch gets the call from Post 4.
Calumet Farm’s English Bee, a 5-year-old homebred by turf champion English Channel, is still trying to recapture his 2019 form when he won four of eight starts including the 1 1/8-mile Virginia Derby (G3) and a pair of one-mile stakes, the James W. Murphy at Pimlico and Parx Fall Derby, all on the grass.
He hasn’t won since, finishing second twice in seven 2020 starts – beaten a half-length in the one-mile Canadian Turf (G3) at Gulfstream and a neck in the Wise Dan.
“I think he just needs some luck,” trainer Graham Motion said. “I think he’s as good as he was. He’s a hard-knocking horse.”
This year English Bee was a troubled seventh, 2 ½ lengths behind Maker-trained pacesetter Somelikeithotbrown in the 1 1/16-mile Dinner Party (G2) May 15 at Pimlico, his first race in more than seven months, and no better in the Prince George’s County.
“I didn’t quite know what to make of his last race, but he didn’t have a great trip. He certainly had an unlucky trip the first time I ran him,” Motion said. “I think he’s done well. I wasn’t in a hurry to run him back. I’d like to think he’s coming into this pretty fresh.”