In Focus: Black-Eyed Susan day

by | May 18, 2017 | Breaking, Handicapping, Top Stories


Our In Focus Guide, by Gary Quill, offers the most in-depth analysis and commentary on the seven stakes races taking place on Black-Eyed Susan day at Pimlico. All photos by Laurie Asseo.

Race 5 – Allaire DuPont Distaff Stakes (Grade III)

RACE PARTICULARS: Race 5 (1:34pm EDT), $150,000 guaranteed purse for fillies & mares, 3-years-old and upward, 1 1/8 miles (Dirt)


  1. #2 – She’s a Warrior (12-1): West Coast shipper for trainer P. Eurton broke maiden after two SHOW efforts in graded stakes on dirt and an unsuccessful, troubled try in ’16 Black-Eyed Susan; 54-year-old G. Stevens comes in to ride indicates she has a legit shot or he just needs the $80; ran behind Songbird twice in ‘16
  2. #6 – Carrumba (3-1): Will be equipped with blinkers to try to right this sinking ship; never OTB (10:4-5-1) until ’17 when disappointed in both (G3) starts, albeit sprinting when success has come going two turns; like recent work w/ the hood on; an off track would help
  3. #4 – Terra Promessa (6-5): Young 11-race career has been a yo-yo with signs of brilliance, winning four in a row leading up to wilting in the G1 Oaks last year; multiple graded stakes winner was runner-up to one of the top mares in the country, Eclipse award winning Stellar Wind; will need to nurse the early fractions in hopes of a gate-to-wire score to get the 9 furlongs
  4. #1 – Power of Snunner (8-1): Game 7-year-old mare has settled to be a bridesmaid twice as much as being the bride in her career (27:7-15-2) but trainer Joe Sharp has breathed new life into her since taking over as trainer with two graded stakes placings in three starts this year


#3 – Mo’ Green (4-1): Talent has been there all along it just required a different barn (J. Servis) and jock (I. Ortiz) to bring out the best in her as she won G3 Top Flight Invitational at Aqu in latest outing… #5 – Winter (15-1): Enjoys racing during the season of her name (4:3-1-0) but got a reality check when fourth in G3 Top Flight at Aqu; will be tough sledding again in here as she faces winner of that one (#3) #7 – She’s a True Beauty (20-1): Took eight starts to break her maiden and another ten to earn a shot in a graded stakes; 3 career wins but 0 for 7 on a fast track, when a maiden.… #8 – Serious Happiness (30-1): Will require some serious luck in graded stakes debut as she’s been outrun by N3x at Prx; she’ll be far back early and late

Noble Bird

Race 7 – The Pimlico Special (Grade III)

RACE PARTICULARS: Race 7 (2:39pm EDT), $300,000 guaranteed purse for 3-year-olds and upward, 1 3/16 miles (Dirt)


The Picks


  1. #6 – Shaman Ghost (4-5): Surprise entry for trainer J. Jerkens following G1 SA Hcp. victory which came after strong runner-up effort to Arrogate in G1 Pegasus World Cup; triple-digit BRIS#s in 6 of last 7 races, likely bled in lone exception as he got Lasix thereafter; towers over this field
  2. #3 – Watershed (6-1): Got first graded stakes win in G3 Ben Ali at Kee last outing in turf-to-dirt move; three of fourteen career outings have been beyond distance of this event; seems to have rounded in top form at the right time
  3. #2 – Eagle (8-1): Honest runner been part of Superfecta in past nine races, all graded stakes but seems to run best at Kee; Johnny V. taking over for the injured Robby Albarado will get a leg up for first time from trainer N. Howard; fact this one has been consistently facing better makes him a threat
  4. #8 – Bodhisattva (30-1): Will need an honest pace to have a shot at coming from the clouds as he did in minor stakes at Lrl three back then “bounced”; nice fourth in G2 CT Classic gives backers hope that he’s sitting on a top effort good enough for a minor share; 2 for 3 at Old Hilltop


#1 – Dolphus (8-1): Speedy Lookin At Lucky colt makes third start since switching to J. Jerkens barn; lone graded stakes try was forgettable… #4 – Discreet Lover (30-1): Rank outsider comes off 6+ length win v. OC25k/N2x event; 3x loser at this level by 13, 19 and 25 lengths when 55-1 to 238-1… #5 – Noble Bird (8-1): Took this event in ’16 in an 11-length romp when lone speed earning career high 117 BRIS#; not the same horse coming into this one three OTB outings in ’17; hung 5-wide in latest though… #7 – Name Changer (20-1): Tough spot for ’17 debut but earned personal best 102 BRIS# after short layoff; got SHOW purse in G2 WV Derby last year… #9 – Conquest Windycity (15-1): Third start of ‘17 and under Brendan Walsh conditioning who took baby steps in two N2x outings, resulting in a 4½-length score and 102 BRIS#… #10 – Fellowship (20-1): Took a swing at the Derby Trail last year but didn’t measure up, ending 3-year-old campaign by suffering 18-length defeat in Preakness quagmire; overwhelmed a N2x group at Lrl in ’17 debut which was intended to be a paid workout for this affair

Noble Bird

Race 9 – The Adena Springs’ Miss Preakness Stakes (Grade III)


RACE PARTICULARS: Race 9 (3:44pm EDT), $150,000 guaranteed purse for 3-year-old fillies, 6 furlongs (Dirt)


The Picks

  1. #5 – Our Majesty (7-2): Would be a perfect 3 for 3 but was DQ’d and placed fourth in second start; possesses tactical speed to sit behind the front-runners who should set very fast early fractions; the Pim strip hasn’t been the speed favoring surface of the past… at least during the first few days of the meet, so with a clean trip this filly should take advantage and pounce on the leg-weary rivals in deep stretch
  2. #11 – Astrollinthepark (8-1): The Larry Jones barn has been high on this filly since Day One as she’s been Post Time favorite in all four starts; on a three-race win streak but naysayers may question the quality of who she has beaten but can boast top BRIS Prime Power#
  3. #7 – Bode’s Dream (12-1): Pletcher’s “other” filly as J. Velazquez picks #8 to ride over this one but gets J. Castellano in the irons who is no slouch; appeared to be a top sprinter until she abruptly stopped in G2 Forward Gal in Feb.; nearly 2-months off from training indicates there was an issue which appears to have been resolved based on bullets in the A.M.
  4. #6 – Vertical Oak (10-1): Recorded top BRIS# (102) of this field in her latest in a minor stakes race over a sloppy Prm track w/ addition of Bute which will be absent from her system in this event; two back was victim of a foul by the #5 in here; makes third start after a layoff


#1 – R Angel Katelyn (10-1): Tam shipper winner of 5 from 6 fast track starts, got short end of the stick w/ rail assignment… #2 – My Miss Chiff (15-1): Rolled sister LA-breds at FG with impressive 94 BRIS# in second start/win; faded late when going 7f in G3 Beaumont at Kee… #3 – Stormy Embrace (20-1): Trainer K. O’Connell has been shut out from a graded stakes victory and hard to imagine one w/ this gal; will have plenty of company early… #4 – Crabcakes (12-1): MD-bred has feasted on local sprinters but held her own when second best at Mvr to #11 in here as BRIS#s are climbing… #8 – Nonna Bella (5-1): First time out of FL for supposedly Pletcher’s better of his two in here; going two turns in latest was not her bag, weakening to fourth after early lead in the G2 GP Oaks to a trio of G1 KY Oaks Also-Rans… #9 – Discreet Deceit (30-1): Took six tries to graduate from maiden ranks; just missed catching a nice L. Rice filly in first outings v. winners in latest… #10 – Too Much Tip (10-1): Makes U.S. debut following 6 wins in Puerto Rico from 7 starts; only loss came when lost jock exiting gate; if you believe the workouts she’ll be awfully quick from the gate… #12 – Pretty City Dancer (6-1): $825k yearling has been, “… a bit of a disappointment… a head-scratcher” per Asst. Trainer N. Casse even though she trains well; cut back to sprint a guess not a plan… #13 – Who’s the Lady (15-1): Exits So. FL with a spotless 4 for 4 record but speed figures need to greatly improve to keep pace with these gals… #14 – Deer Valley (20-1): Lone fast track start happens to be worst of five race career; has taken to turf and recently won off the turf sprint in slop… Also-Eligible: #15 – Shackleford’s Lady (20-1): Pen-based runner is 3 for 3 lifetime, having led every step of the way in each race but lacks the earnings to draw in so she needs a defection

Noble Bird

Race 11 –Black-Eyed Susan Stakes Stakes (Grade II)

RACE PARTICULARS: Race 11 (4:50pm EDT), $250,000 guaranteed purse for 3-year-old fillies, 1 1/8 miles (Dirt)

The Picks

  1. #5 – Lights of Medina (8-1): Steadily improving filly earned an automatic berth to this event when she won the Weber City Miss at Lrl earning a 101 BRIS#, the only triple-digit figure found among this field; bred top and bottom to get the 9 furlongs and late pace figures indicate she’ll be strong in deep stretch
  2. #9 – Summer Luck (5-1): May have been a blessing in disguise not getting into the G1 KY Oaks field; recall she looked good in A.M. at CD and should be sitting on a top effort; success will rely on an honest pace to catch leg-weary front-runners in the final furlong
  3. #10 – Actress (12-1): Can a maiden win this race?! Two runner-up finishes from as many starts at GP, both times with a late run; has room for continued improvement and will relish two turns; home bred for owners who have a history of racing nice ones at attractive prices
  4. #11 – Yorkiepoo Princess (10-1): Three race win streak abruptly ended when she bled in G2 Gazelle at Aqu last month; adds Lasix, shows a pair of works to indicate she’s capable of running back to a level in which she can compete v. these gals


#1 – Shimmering Aspen (9-2): Has captured her past three races by 16¼ combined lengths; connections opted to go here instead of Miss Preakness (sprint), has gaudy speed figs but tough spot to stretch out from 7f to 9f… #2 – Tapa Tapa Tapa (8-1): Nice progression speed fig-wise with help of blinkers; not sure he’s ready for 9 furlongs; part of early pace… #3 – Dancing Rags (8-1): High hopes at age 2 after G1 Alcibiades win but ran dull in BC Juvey and in 3-year-old debut… #4 – Full House (12-1): Advanced nicely from maiden win, to bridesmaid in minor stakes to SHOW in graded stakes, the latter at today’s distance… #6 – Corporate Queen (15-1): Cross-entered in Hilltop Stakes (R8) but will go here; owners G. Barber & B. Flay bought her privately after maiden win as they like to bask in the limelight… #7 – Moana (4-1): Makes stakes debut in just her third career start off maiden win; arrived at Pim early w/ Derby winner Always Dreaming; has talent but question maturity level… #8 – Torrent (15-1): Most seasoned runner in field w/ 8 starts; a decent fourth in G3 Fantasy at OP when 7-wide on the turn


Race 8 – Hilltop Stakes

RACE PARTICULARS: Race 8 (3:13pm EDT), $100,000 guaranteed purse for 3-year-old fillies, One Mile (Turf)

The Picks

  1. #3 – Victory to Victory (5-2): Completed 2-year-old campaign with a convincing win in G1 Natalma at WO when blinkers were added; got a nice and easy paid afternoon workout in a N1x over yielding Kee turf setting her up for a big effort here             
  2. #5 – Compelled (3-1): Never off-the-board in six lifetime starts (6: 2-1-3) this Closer gets a field filled with early speed which should make trainer T. Proctor drool; third in G3 FL Oaks in latest was flattered when runner-up came back to win G3 Edgewood on KY Oaks Day         
  3. #11 – Sweeping Paddy (12-1): Seems best suited to this one mile distance as trainer D. Romans makes trip from CD just to saddle this gal; can boast best turf BRIS# (97) of the thirteen scheduled starters                    
  4. #2 – Romantic Music (15-1): Draw a line through that dirt outing on Apr. 29 and concentrate on her only three turf starts, each better than the last as far as speed figures go; just a slight improvement in here makes her a threat; versatile running style is a plus          

Race 10 – Jim McKay Turf Sprint

RACE PARTICULARS: Race 10 (4:16pm EDT), $100,000 guaranteed purse for 3-year-olds and upward, 5 furlongs (Turf)

The Picks

  1. #7 – Grand Candy (8-1): This contest is filled with early speed, coming from both sides which gives this 4-year-old son of Twirling Candy a perfect view from the rear, in hopes of getting a clean trip and unleash a furious rally to get up in the shadow of the wire
  2. #4 – Pay Any Price (3-1): Is the speed of the speed coming from the “speedway” at GP; the firmer the turf the better and faster he’ll run; pray for clear skies and a clean break because if he’s not first at the 1st Call, he won’t be at the wire
  3. #5 – Ben’s Cat (6-1): Is there enough left in the tank for this 11-year-old legend to go out in a blaze of glory? KTL has pointed the defending champ to run in this event… maybe one last time; ’17 debut last month wasn’t as bad as it looks on paper
  4. #10 – Richard’s Boy (4-1): Graded stakes placed CA-bred 5-year-old travels cross-country from So. Cal to run in a $100k turf sprint; has an outstanding record at this distance (4:3-1-0) and impressive career high 104 BRIS#

Race 13 – Skipat Stakes

RACE PARTICULARS: Race 13 (5:54pm EDT), $100,000 guaranteed purse for fillies & mares, 3-years-old and upward, 6 furlongs (Dirt)

The Picks

  1. #9 – Clipthecouponsannie (9-5): Lightly race 4-year-old got black-type when she SHOWed in G3 Distaff at Aqu in ’17 debut going 7 furlongs; that was her only defeat in five career starts; cut back to 6 furlongs should help step forward once again
  2. #5 – Chanteline (7-2): Well-travelled sprinter appears to be in top form after spending winter at OP as speed figures have improved with every start this year; ITM 9 of 10 starts at this distance
  3. #1 – Lovable Lady (10-1): Has home dirt advantage as she trains on this track every day and never OTB in 10 starts at this distance; can take advantage of her speedy rivals by dropping back, get covered up through the first half of what should be a suicidal pace and put in a nice late run to pick up the pieces
  4. #3 – Absatootly (12-1): NY-bred is 3 for 3 at MD tracks, unfortunately all three were at Lrl not Pim; makes third start after layoff and possesses tactical speed to get first run at the early speed; local rider K. Gomez has been in the irons for last two victories