Black-Eyed Susan Stakes 2022: Evenly-matched field on Friday makes for a great wagering race

The Black-Eyed Susan Stakes is the highlight on what looks to be a stupendous card on Friday at Pimlico Race Course. Check out this preview below for a rundown of who is in ...
The Black-Eyed Susan Stakes is the highlight on what looks to be a stupendous card on Friday at Pimlico Race Course. Check out this preview below for a rundown of who is in ...
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Race 13: 1 1/8th (Dirt), Black-Eyed Susan S. (G2), Purse $250k, 3F (Friday)

Named for the state flower of Maryland, the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes is a Grade 2 race that regularly brings together a large field of competitors. The fillies are the stars on the Friday before the Preakness S. Over the years, some important runners have routed through Pimlico, targeting this important stop in their 3-yr-old careers. Bill Mott’s Royal Delta won here … so, did Todd Pletcher’s Stopchargingmaria … and as for the last 3 years … it was George Weaver’s Point of Honor, Jim Ryerson’s Miss Marissa, and last year’s winner, the Mike Maker filly, Army Wife. Now, it is time to hoist another crown, as the Black-Eyed Susan returns!

Now, let’s find out about this field…

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#1 Divine Huntress (Jky: F. Prat/Trn: Graham Motion):

Part-owned by the light blue, black, and white of Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, this filly by Divining Rod almost lost her jockey. Flavien Prat will have to “serve days,” starting Saturday, but he will be present on Friday. The suspension is based on a ride that occurred at Belmont. This filly is going to need all the help she can get, especially after some suspect performances in the Rachel Alexandra (G2) at the Fair Grounds, and the Gazelle (G3) at Aqueduct. Maybe Prat can assist … Motion has an uncoupled entry ready for action, but this one might be weaker.

Grade: C+

 

#2 Missy Greer (Jky: L. Saez/Trn: D. Gargan):

Here is a class hiker that will be traversing a much bigger hill this time around—Old Hilltop to be exact. The daughter of Nyquist broke her maiden down at Gulfstream Park last time out … after 3 prior attempts. That was a frontrunning score, and Luis Saez was able to set the pace, control it, and take his mount across the wire with a 5+ length advantage. Now, things get deeper, and she is really going to have to step-up her game. Gargan has limited experience in spots like these, so maybe the best hope is for a minor award.

Grade: C+

 

#3 Miss Yearwood (Jky: J. Leparoux/Trn: I. Wilkes):

The short-priced daughter of Will Take Charge lived up to her odds last time out at Churchill Downs against 5 other “maidens.” She got her 1st win, making a meal out of that group. Winning by 7+ lengths with Julien Leparoux in the irons, it gave her trainer, Ian Wilkes, the idea that maybe a “graded” like this one could be in her wheelhouse. The 3-yr-old will actually be cutting back, since that race was the “Derby distance” of 1¼. Will that give her an edge? The class angle is a tough, especially when compared to others … plus, Wilkes does not have a ton of success in spots like these.

Grade: C+

 

#4 Midnight Stroll (Jky: J. Castellano/Trn: J. Terranova):

A popular, budding sire … the name of Not This Time is becoming more and more prevalent of late. Here is a filly for John Terranova that made a nice ladder leap at Tampa back in March. She won impressively in the Sophomore Fillies $110k for Florida breds, and really led from the start. With Midnight Lute on the dam side, that might help her go longer in a spot like this one. Tampa does not always get credit for producing strong “stakes” runners, but they should. Working out at Belmont Park since early April, she looks to be rested and ready to go. Javier Castellano always shows up to ride well at Pimlico, and I would not count him out at all. Sleeper pick …

Grade: B

 

#5 Beguine (Jky: J. Ortiz/Trn: D. Peitz):

When you see a runner that is shipping in from Oaklawn Park this time of year … take notice. The competition is fierce, and let’s face it, the Grade 3 Fantasy S. is always tough. Dan Peitz’s son of Gun Runner was 2nd to Yuugiri that afternoon, and even though that might not be something to be lauded, she was 11/1. Coming to this Grade 2, it is going to be a chore to go further, but with Jose Ortiz aboard (and that pedigree), she has more than a chance. I like the price of 12/1 on the M/L, and she posted a strong speed fig in that race. Maybe a cleaner trip this time could bring a win to a barn that is not well-known in most circles. One to watch …

Grade: B-

 

#6 Luna Belle (Jky: D. Araujo/Trn: H. Smith):

When it comes to “stakes experience,” few can match this Maryland bred by Great Notion. Hamilton Smith has made some key decisions concerning her form along the way, and she has 7 … count’em 7 … “Non-G” contests to her credit. She has won her last 5 (all came at Laurel), and now, she is looking for more. Regular man Denis Araujo is going to get his chance to shine aboard this talented filly, and if she can ratchet up against this lot, then she has the chance to be one of the great MD breds in-the-making … first thing’s first though …

Grade: B

 

#7 Distinctlypossible (Jky: I. Ortiz/Trn: C. Brown):

This filly by the great Curlin (who won the ’07 Preakness) came with a sizable price tag at the OBS Sale back in 2021 … $670k. She will probably end up being my top pick because her ’22 debut at Keeneland was a nice one for Chad Brown, Irad Ortiz, and company. She is not without “stakes” experience, having run against Juju’s Map in the Alcibiades (G1) at Keeneland last fall. There is much to like when it comes to her current fitness level, and well-bred bloodlines. If Ortiz can find a way to get her close to the lead on Friday afternoon, by the time the stretch arrives, then she has an excellent chance … I doubt seriously that she will be 6/1 come post time.

Grade: A

 

#8 Candy Light (Jky: C, Marquez/Trn: G. Motion):

Here is the other half of the Motion uncoupled entry, and this is a young runner that is looking to improve after ending up 2nd to Luna Belle #6 last time out in the Beyond the Wire S. $100k. Her regular rider, Charlie Marquez gets the call once again, and I like this filly’s potential … at a price. By Candy Ride (ARG) she has the ability to go longer, and could be one to consider on any underneath wager. Motion is a trainer with deep ties to Maryland, and he sends this one to the post with some strong ability. Fortune Racing … indeed! My other sleeper pick!

Grade: B

 

#9 Interstatedaydream (Jky: F. Geroux/Trn: B. Cox):

It would not be a filly race at this level without the presence of trainer Brad Cox. Flurry Racing Stable, with their snowflake silks, is bringing their daughter of Classic Empire to Baltimore. In 4 career races, she has taken on some tough company. Way back in the Adirondack (G2) at Saratoga, she was impressive against Wicked Halo … garnering 2nd at odds of 17/1. Cox sent her to the pasture, and she returned in March at Oaklawn in one of those challenging OC80kn1x events. She made mincemeat of that field, and most thought that would mean a surefire victory in the Ashland S. (G1) against Nest. It didn’t happen, and she barely held 3rd. The fact of the matter is that this horse is conditioned by an expert, and will be ridden for the 3rd time in-a-row by Florent Geroux. She is more than a contender … would not be surprised if she runs her best race ever.

Grade: A-

 

#10 Adare Manor (Jky: J. Velazquez/Trn: S. McCarthy):

Trainer Sean McCarthy has a budding star in this daughter of Uncle Mo, that was purchased by Michael Petersen during the OBS Sale in 2021 for $375k. McCarthy only recently took over the filly’s schedule from Tim Yakteen, who took over for Bob Baffert … She was 2nd in the Santa Anita Oaks (G2), just missing by a neck. Once again, John Velazquez, a HOF rider, settles into the irons, and we are going to see if she can handle the track, the new barn, and a tough field. The work tab looks promising, but it’s hard to see this one as a “deserving favorite.” To put it another way … she is going to have to run big in order to “win” this race.

Grade: B+

 

#11 Radio Days (Jky: J. Rosario/Trn: S. McGaughey):

At the end of the year at Aqueduct, this Shug McGaughey runner was excellent in an OC80kn1x—winning by 8+ lengths. Coming into the new year, she shipped to Gulfstream for the Forward Gal (G3), and lost a tough one. It seems like ever since, the filly by Gun Runner has just plain missed in her subsequent races. Both the Busher Invitational, and the Beaumont S. (G3) had tough opponents (Venti Valentine/Matareya), but you could argue that those were character-building moments. McGaughey is a master when it comes to preparation, and he and Joel Rosario have worked well in the past. Is this filly going in the proper direction? We shall see … unclear …

Grade: B-

 

#12 Favor (Jky: T. Gaffalione/Trn: T. Pletcher):

The lone Todd Pletcher representative is in-town to see if she can bring home a win in this Grade 2. Her last race, the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2), was a “good” 3rd … but keep in mind that she had to run against both Echo Zulu and Hidden Connection. Owned by Stonestreet Stables, Pletcher teams with Tyler Gaffalione once again. He is a top rider, but this is going to be a much tougher race than the one in New Orleans. This is Pletcher we are talking about, and he is a HOF-er for a reason. Hard to know what to think of this filly by Pioneerof Nile … wait and see …

Grade: B-

 

#13 Morning Matcha (Jky: F. Pennington/Trn: B. Reid):

The Reid Barn is sending this filly back to the oval in hopes of making a splash in this Grade 2. By Central Banker, the PA bred has “Non-G” experience, and tried to score in the Gazelle S. (G3) last time out. With regular rider Frankie Pennington aboard, the filly was clearly overmatched … finishing 6th behind Nostalgic. It is safe to say that after a steady diet of races at Parx and Aqueduct, she should be fit. Still, it might be just too big an “ask” when it all comes down to it.

Grade: C+

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Join us Friday for all of our Black-Eyed Susan Day selections! Should be a great set of races from Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter … Horseracing_USA !!!

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