Beautiful Gift
Beautiful Gift won the Santa Ysabel Stakes at Santa Anita Park. Photo Santa Anita Park.

 The 97th running of the 1 1/8-mile Black-Eyed Susan for 3-year-old fillies highlights a spectacular 14-race program that includes six stakes, four graded, worth $1 million in purses. It returns to its traditional spot on the eve of the Preakness Stakes (G1) after sharing the program with the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown when the races were delayed from mid-May to early October amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Other graded stakes on the program are the historic $250,000 Pimlico Special for 3-year-olds and up at the Preakness distance of 1 3/16 miles, $150,000 Miss Preakness (G3) for 3-year-old fillies sprinting six furlongs, and $150,000 Allaire du Pont (G3) for fillies and mares 3 and up going 1 1/8 miles.

Boama Corporation’s Beautiful Gift won one of two starts at 2, a one-mile maiden special weight last October at Santa Anita. Both her races this year have come there, as well – a gutsy head victory over Moraz in the Santa Ysabel (G3) and half-length loss to Soothsay while second in the Santa Anita Oaks (G2) April 3. Both races were contested at 1 1/16 miles.

Rather than send Beautiful Gift to the Kentucky Oaks (G1) April 30, the connections opted to wait for the Black-Eyed Susan. Hall of Famer John Velazquez will be aboard for the third straight race, breaking from outside Post 10, and are the 9-5 program favorite.

“She’s run well,” Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said. “I was going to run her in the Kentucky Oaks, but it came up way too tough. That’s one of the toughest Kentucky Oaks I’ve seen. I didn’t want to put her through that. I said, ‘We’ll wait for the Black-Eyed Susan.’ You try to spot your horses, give them a chance where they have a chance to win.”