Miss Leslie
Miss Leslie won the Weber City Miss. Photo by Allison Janezic.

The team behind New Jersey-based BB Horses, owners of Weber City Miss Stakes winner Miss Leslie, didn’t make it down to Pimlico Saturday.

“But if we run the next race,” said winning trainer Claudio Gonzalez, “they’re gonna come down.”

No question: with her rallying victory in the Weber City Miss, Miss Leslie earned herself a spot in the May 14 Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at the same track. The Weber City Miss serves as a “win and in” prep race for Maryland’s biggest distaff event.

Miss Leslie now has four wins from eight career starts to go with $204,630 in earnings. Even more enticing for a Black-Eyed Susan date, the Paynter filly is two-for-two around two turns; the Black-Eyed Susan is contested at 1 1/8 miles. Miss Leslie had previously won the 1 1/16-mile Anne Arundel County Stakes at Laurel Park.

The betting public was most interested in Beyond the Wire Stakes winner Littlestitious, making her the 7-5 favorite in the six-horse field. At 9-1, Miss Leslie was the fourth choice.

But the odds spread — two of the six were in double digits — belies how evenly matched the field was. Other than second choice Hybrid Eclipse, who stopped badly to be a well-beaten sixth, the other five runners all were within four lengths of each other at the finish.

Moonsafe, the longest shot on the board, was away quickly to establish the front under Julian Pimentel, and she led the field through manageable fractions of 48.59 seconds for the first half-mile and 1:12.78 for three quarters. Her nearest pursuer at each point of call was Exogen, with Jevian Toledo up.

Miss Leslie, meanwhile, was dawdling along in last with a deficit that exceeded seven lengths — seemingly a heavy lift in a race with such a modest pace.

But that, said Gonzalez, was the plan.

“Everybody knows that the speed is good,” he explained. “A lot of horses have speed. I told [jockey J. D. Acosta], stay behind the other speed and then do one move. He did it perfectly.”

Acosta was able to save ground around the first turn, his mount under a snug hold, and manage the second turn in the two- and three-path before coming five wide for the drive. Once uncovered, she finished strongly to win by a length-and-a-half over the Kenny McPeek-trained Oliviaofthedesert, who was nearly two lengths clear of Littlestitious.

Miss Leslie returned $21.20 to win and topped an exacta that paid $35.40 for a buck.

The win also continued a strong start to the brand-new Pimlico meet for Gonzalez. Two races later, another of his trainees, Completed Pass, won the King T. Leatherbury Stakes to give Gonzalez four wins in the first three days of the meet.