Black-Eyed Susan Stakes 2021 Picks: Baffert's Filly Doesn't Pass the Test

The Black-Eyed Susan is the anchor for Friday's Preakness Weekend card. Check out our preview of the big race!
The Black-Eyed Susan is the anchor for Friday's Preakness Weekend card. Check out our preview of the big race!

Preakness Weekend is finally upon us, and the run-up had its share of drama. Bob Baffert and his Kentucky Derby Champion, Medina Spirit, became the focal point. His hubris, mismanagement, and outright audacity taxed the sport in a way that has yet to be realized or understood. Now, as the scene shifts to the home of the Maryland Jockey Club at Pimlico, its oldest signature race takes center stage.

Before we get to a Super Saturday, the day before brings us Black-Eyed Susan Day. A full slate of contests appears on tap, and we at, have you covered with a bevy of selections, and our focused analysis. Both our turf-man and our in-house handicapper are on hand to offer their “expert” opinions. Stay tuned …

As mentioned, this week in Horse Racing has revolved around Baffert. He sends out the favorite in the feature race of the day - the Grade II Black-Eyed Susan.

Does our man J.N. Campbell like the chances of Beautiful Gift? Find out below as he handicaps the field of ten.

The team at put together slates of selections for most thoroughbred tracks racing in the US every single day. The Picks page (linked to below) is updated at 3AM ET every day with all the selections for the upcoming slate...

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Race 13: Dirt, 1 1/8th, Black-Eyed Susan S. (G2), $250k, 3F

The Maryland equivalent of the KY Oaks, normally brings together a solid group of sophomore fillies who are looking for G2 fame and fortune. The Friday “Feature,” has seen its share of hard-knocking winners come home, i.e. Stopcharging Maria, comes to mind. This race serves as the moment when minor trainers, who might not otherwise have the opportunity to grab the spotlight, are able to etch their names into history … the Ryerson Barn from last year with Miss Marissa would be an example.

Coming into this edition of the BES, the central question surrounds Bob Baffert’s Beautiful Gift #10. Can she secure the victory that is the initial query … Then, even more pressing, if she does, will her HOF trainer, who is under a cloud of suspicion, be “allowed” to legitimately “celebrate?” In the popular press and the turfwriting media, Baffert’s name is becoming less and less secure. His slipshod methods have gotten him into more than just a bit of hot water. To be sure, this filly can win this race with John Velazquez aboard. Remember though, she decidedly failed in the Santa Anita Oaks (G2) back in April at a very short price. Looking elsewhere, for all sorts of reasons, would be a good plan.

For instance, you could back Chad Brown’s The Grass Is Blue #8 or Brad Cox’s Adventuring #9, since both come from powerful barns are well-bred for this distance test. I am not sure what kind of value you are going to get, especially considering once again Irad Ortiz and Florent Geroux are facing one another. They have gone head-to-head in some titanic races of late, and I would not be surprised if they end up dueling down the stretch once again.

For my money, I would consider a runner like Kenny McPeek’s Forever Boss #4 before I would back one of the shorter-type favorites. For one, McPeek is excellent with fillies, and he continues to prove why he is simply one of the best in the business. Out of Tapiture, she was slated to become a turf-AW surface specialist, but at Keeneland last time on a wet track, she proved she could master the dirt. That was a pretty short field that she faced, but I like her fitness level at this stage. Talk about value at 15/1 with Jose Ortiz in the saddle!

One other on the “make” type that you might consider is Todd Pletcher’s Iced Latte #6. Supporting an offspring of Pioneerof the Nile is never a poor play, since they have proven to be able to run long. This Pletcher pal is strong for the excellent Repole Stable, and I think she can move forward after that last OC effort at Belmont. Pletcher’s rates of return continue to not disappoint, so when you see him team with the likes of Luis Saez, it is not a wager to overlook.

Winning against 9 others in this spot, is not going to be as easy as it might look. Neither will it be to cash a ticket … good fun!

Top Selection: Forever Boss #4

Creative Wager: $2 Double, R12 (#1) w R13 (#s 1-10)

You can bet on the race via the Race Card at the bottom of the page and please take advantage of special sign-up offers from our betting partners this Preakness weekend. Our Preakness hub page with all the latest information is linked to below via the gold button...

Preakness Stakes 2021
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