2018 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes Horse Racing Odds & Picks

Last Updated: 2018-05-16

black eyed susan stakes oddsThe track was wet and muddy for the weekend festivities at Churchill Downs two weeks ago and it seems like we’ll see more of the same this weekend at Pimlico Race Course. The Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, the de facto second leg of the Filly Triple Crown, is Friday’s highlight race and the field is set. As mentioned, rain will be in the forecast and the track is expected to be a bit of a mess, so it could be a very challenging day of handicapping.

Only one of the runners from the Kentucky Oaks two weeks ago will be in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, so we’ll almost have an entirely new set of fillies to handicap. This race was known as the Pimlico Oaks until 1952, when it was changed to align with the official name of the Preakness and also to pay homage to the state flower of Maryland. This is a nine-furlong race, or 1 1/8 miles for those that aren’t sure how long nine furlongs are. Like the other Triple Crown races, only three-year-olds are allowed to participate.

Here is the field for the 2018 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes:

Post Horse Jockey Trainer Odds
1 Tell Your Mama J. Castellano R. Hess Jr. 20/1
2 Midnight Disguise I. Ortiz Jr. L. Rice 4/1
3 Coach Rocks L. Saez D. Romans 7/2
4 Red Ruby P. Lopez K. Gorder 5/1
5 Mihrab J. Toledo H. Graham Motion 30/1
6 C.S. Incharge J. Leparoux D. Romans 15/1
7 Goodonehoney S. Hamilton J. Egan 5/1
8 Indy Union J. Ortiz J. Englehart 10/1
9 Sara Street D. Davis K. McLaughlin 4/1
10 Stakes On a Plane S. Russell J. Talley 20/1

There are a few things to notice right away about the field. We don’t have a “who’s who” of jockeys or trainers in this event. We don’t see Bob Baffert, Todd Pletcher, or Steve Asmussen. We don’t see a lot of big-name jockeys, though Javier Castellano is a two-time winner in 2014 and 2015. John Velazquez has won this race four times, but is not riding a filly this week. Luis Saez scored his first win two years ago in this race atop Go Maggie Go. Saez and Castellano are the only jockeys out of the 10 with wins in this race.

Dale Romans was the winning trainer in 2015 with Keen Pauline and 2016 with Go Maggie Go. He is the only trainer in this year’s race with a win in a previous Black-Eyed Susan Stakes. By comparison, D. Wayne Lukas has four, Bob Baffert has three, and Todd Pletcher has four. Suffice it to say that it makes this race an even more challenging handicap.

The smart money seems to be on Sara Street, the Kiaran McLaughlin-trained filly that was sired by Street Sense, the winner of the 2007 Kentucky Derby and runner-up to Curlin in that year’s Preakness Stakes. The bloodline is very rich for this horse. Sara Street has placed in each of her last two races at Aqueduct, including a second in the Grade 2 Gazelle Stakes. That was one of the more notable runs from this field during the Road to the Kentucky Oaks circuit. Being on the outside on a muddy track may not be a bad thing, since jockey Dylan Davis can keep her outside and just let her speed take over.

The filly that ran in the Kentucky Oaks is Coach Rocks, who finished seventh. Coach Rocks won the Gulfstream Oaks and finished sixth in the Road to the Kentucky Oaks standings in the lead-up to the race at Churchill. The tandem of Romans and Saez has to garner some pretty significant respect this week given what was mentioned earlier about the relative lack of success from the rest of the field in big events. Coach Rocks is probably the most experienced racer in the field, with a lot of runs at Gulfstream, Churchill, Keeneland, and Saratoga in her past as she got ready for these big events. The obvious comparison to make is the performance of Go Maggie Go, who was also a Romans/Saez horse that won this race in 2016. Go Maggie Go was fourth at the Kentucky Oaks. She also wound up fourth at the Acorn at Belmont three weeks later.

Goodonehoney won on April 21 in a tune-up race at Laurel Park. Indy Union, also in this field, finished second. It was an absolute runaway for Goodonehoney in the Weber City Miss Stakes, as she started on the rail, got out front on the backstretch, and put it away before the final turn. It is worth pointing out that the second favorite in that race at 3/1, but she still dusted the field. Indy Union did well to run up into second on the final stretch, but nobody was going to come close to the winner.

Nobody seems to be talking much about Midnight Disguise, who finished fourth in the Gazelle Stakes, but that is her worst finish to date and she was the favorite in that event. That was her only graded race but she has done an excellent job at Aqueduct, including a win over Sara Street in the Busher Stakes on March 3. Midnight Disguise also has a jockey upgrade for this one. Trevor McCarthy was in the irons for the Gazelle and now it is back to Irad Ortiz Jr. She had a real bad start out of the gate and was at the back of the pack throughout the first half of the race. It appears to me like she is coming in a little bit underappreciated with that disappointing showing at the Gazelle. The 4/1 price suggests otherwise, but Sara Street seems to be the buzz horse.

Some horses just don’t like bad weather. They don’t take to a muddy, sloppy track as well as others. Red Ruby doesn’t have a whole lot of results to ponder, but she won the Martha Washington at Oaklawn on a messy track back in February. She trailed by a decent amount around the third turn, but had the endurance in the muck to pull away late and win rather comfortably over the last furlong. That was, however, a five-horse race and there wasn’t a lot of traffic to slide to stall a push from the outside.

This will be a tough race and weather will be a factor, but Midnight Disguise would be my pick here, with Sara Street and Red Ruby also likely to hit the board.

 

-END OF 2018 PREVIEW-

 

We’ve got a really strong field for this year’s Black-Eyed Susan Stakes. The all-filly complement to the Preakness Stakes features the top three-year-old female horses in the sport. Abel Tasman won’t have a chance to ride into the winner’s circle this week because Bob Baffert and his team have opted to let her rest this weekend in favor of the Acorn Stakes at Belmont in a few weeks. The last filly to win the Kentucky Oaks and the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes is Silverbulletday in 1999, who was one of the most decorated fillies in the history of the sport.

We won’t see a back-to-back winner this year, but this is still a very exciting field and a nice appetizer in advance of Saturday’s main course. We’re approaching the 100th anniversary of the first Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, which was known as the Pimlico Oaks from 1919-52 before it changed names. This is technically the 93rd race, as there was no race from 1932-37 and again in 1950.

Somebody other than Dale Romans will get a win this year. Romans has been the winning trainer each of the last two years with Go Maggie Go last year and Keen Pauline in 2015. Todd Pletcher has two fillies in the field as he looks to stand alone as the only trainer with five career wins in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes.

Post positions have been drawn for the 2017 version of the race and odds have been set. Here they are as of May 17:

Post Horse Jockey Trainer Odds
1 Shimmering Aspen S. Hamilton R. Jenkins 9/2
2 Tapa Tapa Tapa J. Castanon T. Hamm 8/1
3 Dancing Rags T. McCarthy H. Motion 8/1
4 Full House R. Maragh J. Jerkens 12/1
5 Lights of Medina F. Lynch T. Pletcher 8/1
6 Corporate Queen J. Rosario M. Casse 15/1
7 Moana J. Velazquez T. Pletcher 4/1
8 Torrent J. Ortiz R. Moquett 15/1
9 Summer Luck J. Castellano M. Casse 5/1
10 Actress N. Juarez J. Servis 12/1
11 Yorkiepoo Princess H. Karamanos E. Barker 10/1

None of the participants from the Kentucky Oaks will be in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, which means we have a whole race full of contenders to consider. As you can see, Moana was the morning line odds favorite at 4/1, which speaks to how often this race could be. Any horse with the tandem of John Velazquez and Todd Pletcher deserves instant respect, especially with Pletcher’s reputation in this race. Starting in the seventh position isn’t bad either because the traffic can either settle before Moana makes a move or the filly can make her move to the inside and set the pace.

Moana, another horse from the very busy Uncle Mo, won at Keeneland on April 14 and also finished second in a race earlier this year. Pletcher didn’t have any horses in the Kentucky Oaks, so he’s had his sights set on this race with both of his contenders. The other, Lights of Medina, picked up a win at Laurel Park right in the state of Maryland on April 22. It appears that it’s going to be very hard to grade these horses since there aren’t a ton of polished products in this race.

Summer Luck has to be a strong consideration. Summer Luck has finished on the board in three of her four graded races and ran strong with many of the competitors that were in last week’s Kentucky Oaks. She was third twice at Gulfstream, fourth once at Gulfstream, and then finished fifth at Keeneland in the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes behind Sailor’s Valentine, Daddys Lil Darling, and Someday Soon. Her third-place finishes included a strong run in the Davona Dale Stakes, a Grade 2 race at Gulfstream. In both of those races, she was ridden by Florent Geroux, who is solid, but doesn’t have the acumen of a guy like Javier Castellano. At 5/1, the price looks pretty good here.

Another notable horse in this race this weekend is Dancing Rags. The daughter of Union Rags ran to an eighth-place finish in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, the only one of the horses in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes to participate in one of the Breeders’ Cup filly races. She won the Alcibiades Grade 1 race over Daddys Lil Darling last October, but finished sixth at Keeneland in the Grade 3 Beaumont Stakes in April. She’s well-rested, though and that could make a big difference.

On the outside, Yorkiepoo Princess has three career wins at Aqueduct and another one at Belmont. She’s been raced a lot more than most of the other contenders, so we do have a bigger body of work on her. When she stepped up in class at the Gazelle Stakes, however, she finished eighth. Full House finished third in that race and had a pretty strong run behind Miss Sky Warrior and Lockdown.

It looks like there are several horses that *could* win the race, but Moana and Summer Luck appear to stand out above the field, with Full House possibly working her way up onto the board.

 

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