BLACK-EYED SUSAN DRAWS 26 NOMS
Four graded-stakes winners, three undefeated horses and a local star that earned automatic entry with her latest victory are among an accomplished group of 26 horses nominated to the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2) Friday, May 14 at Pimlico Race Course.
The 97th running of the 1 1/8-mile Black-Eyed Susan for 3-year-old fillies highlights a 14-race program that includes six stakes, four graded, worth $1 million in purses and serves as a fitting prelude to the 146th Preakness Stakes (G1), the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown, Saturday, May 15.
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First run in 1919 as the Pimlico Oaks, the Black-Eyed Susan has been won by horses such as Nellie Morse, the only filly to also go on to win the Preakness, in 1924; along with champions Vagrancy, Twilight Tear, But Why Not, Wistful, Real Delight, Office Queen, Davona Dale, Serena’s Song, Silverbulletday and Royal Delta.
Black-Eyed Susan nominations include five horses exiting the April 30 Kentucky Oaks (G1), two of them from reigning Eclipse Award-winning trainer Brad Cox. OXO Equine’s Travel Column, winner of the 2020 Golden Rod (G2) and 2021 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) ran fifth after setting the pace, while Kueber Racing’s Coach, twice graded-stakes placed, finished ninth.
Cox’s other BES nominees are Godolphin homebred Adventuring, a winner of two straight including the one-mile Bourbonette Oaks over the all-weather surface March 27 at Turfway Park, and Magnifico’s Australasia, undefeated in five career races at distances from 5 ½ furlongs to one mile and 70 yards, three of them in Louisiana-bred stakes. Most recently, the Sky Kingdom filly captured a 6 ½-furlong optional claiming allowance on the Kentucky Oaks undercard.
Other nominees that ran in the Oaks are third-place finisher Will’s Secret, winner of the March 6 Honeybee (G3), and Gazelle (G3) runner-up Maracuja and Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) winner Crazy Beautiful, respectively seventh and ninth. Crazy Beautiful is trained by Ken McPeek, historic winner of the 2020 Preakness with filly Swiss Skydiver, who also nominated recent Keeneland allowance winner Forever Boss and stakes winner Oliviaofthedesert, runner-up in Pimlico’s Weber City Miss.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who figures to have a pair of major Preakness contenders in Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Medina Spirit and Rebel (G2) winner Concert Tour, nominated Baoma Corporation’s Beautiful Gift. The bay daughter of Medaglia d’Oro has raced twice this year, winning the Santa Ysabel (G3) March 7 and running second as the favorite in the Santa Anita Oaks (G2) April 3.
Baffert, a record-tying seven-time Preakness winner, previously won the Black-Eyed Susan with two-time champion and 2009 Hall of Famer Silverbulletday in 1999, Yearly Report in 2004 and Fiftyshadesofhay in 2013.
Spun Sugar (2005), Panty Raid (2007), In Lingerie (2012) and Mike Repole’s Stopchargingmaria (2014) all won the Black-Eyed Susan for trainer Todd Pletcher, whose 2021 nominee is Repole-owned Iced Latte. An impressive maiden special weight winner at Gulfstream Park March 14, she was second after setting the pace over a sloppy track in an optional claiming allowance April 25 at Belmont Park.
Two nominees that went unraced at 2 and are unbeaten in two starts this year are Midnight Obsession and April 3 Santa Anita Oaks (G2) winner Soothsay. Midnight Obsession beat Iced Latte last out at Belmont and is trained by John Servis, winner of the 2004 Derby and Preakness with Smarty Jones and 2000 Black-Eyed Susan with Jostle.
BB Horses’ Miss Leslie earned an automatic berth to the Black-Eyed Susan by virtue of her victory in the 1 1/16-mile Weber City Miss April 24 at Pimlico for Claudio Gonzalez, a cancer survivor who has led all Maryland trainers in wins the past four years. As a 2-year-old, Miss Leslie won the Anne Arundel County in December at Laurel Park, also at 1 1/16 miles.
Maryland-based Fraudulent Charge, trained and co-owned by Lacey Gaudet, was scratched from the Weber City Miss after running second in three consecutive Laurel Park stakes – the 2020 Gin Talking and 2021 Wide Country behind multiple stakes winners Street Lute, being pointed to the Miss Preakness (G3) on the Black-Eyed Susan undercard, and Littlestitious in the March 13 Beyond the Wire.
Also among Black-Eyed Susan nominees are graded-stakes placed Gazelle (G3) show finisher Army Wife; Ava’s Grace, third in the 2020 Adirondack (G2) and second in the April 3 Fantasy (G3); Lady Traveler, second in the Forward Gal (G3) Jan. 30 at Gulfstream trained by two-time BES winner Dale Romans; Jan. 24 Busanda winner The Grass Is Blue; and Spritz, beaten two lengths by Adventuring when second in the Bourbonette Oaks.
Entries will be taken and post positions drawn for the Black-Eyed Susan Sunday, May 9.