Before the main event, the Preakness Stakes, at Pimlico Race Course this weekend, the fillies get their time to shine. Much like the schedule for the weekend at Churchill Downs, Friday night’s schedule includes a feature race for the female horses. The Black-Eyed Susan Stakes is Pimlico’s answer to the Kentucky Oaks, which was a very exciting race a couple weeks ago. Some of the three-year-old fillies that run in the Black-Eyed Susan or the Oaks may find themselves in the Belmont coming up in early June, so it’s important to keep track of all of these horses.
This Grade II race of 1 1/8 miles will hand out a purse of $500,000. This is part of the unofficial “Filly Triple Crown”, which also includes the Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park. For the 18th straight year, a different filly will win the Kentucky Oaks and the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes. The last horse to win both was Silverbulletday back in 1999. Cathryn Sophia won the Kentucky Oaks and will not be racing here at Pimlico.
Two horses from the Oaks are in this field and are the ones getting the most betting attention so far. Here are the entrants for the 92nd edition of the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes:
|1||A P Majetstic||Carrasco||Trombetta||30/1|
|3||Land Over Sea||Gutierrez||O’Neill||2/1|
|4||Ma Can Do It||Hernandez Jr.||Romans||30/1|
|5||Go Maggie Go||L. Saez||Romans||5/2|
|6||She’s a Warrior||Stevens||Eurton||6/1|
|9||Midnight on Oconee||G. Saez||Jones||15/1|
|11||In the Navy Now||McCarthy||Trombetta||30/1|
|14||Mom’s On Strike||Rocco Jr.||Sharp||15/1|
There are a couple of important things to consider about this race. The Kentucky Oaks was a Grade I race and this is a Grade II, so that’s a big reason why Land Over Sea, one of the two holdovers from the Oaks, is listed as the 2/1 favorite. The same can be said of Go Maggie Go, who finished fourth in the Oaks. The other is that it can sometimes be difficult for these fillies to make the quick transition since a lot more care is taken with their race schedule.
Land Over Sea is one of the fillies somewhat accustomed to quick turnarounds. It’s clear that Doug O’Neill had intentions all along of getting her right back into the Black-Eyed Susan because she has run with short rest before. She finished second at Los Alamitos last July and then won just 17 days later at Del Mar. Also, during the Road to the Kentucky Oaks circuit, she was second on March 5 at Santa Anita and then won on March 26 in the Fair Grounds Oaks with excellent times in both of those races. She has four wins this season and has the highest ratings across the board of any horse in the field. Except for a seventh in a stacked field at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on Halloween, she’s been third or better in every race.
Go Maggie Go has a shot at being the next big winner in this event for Dale Romans. Romans was a winner last year in this event with Keen Pauline. It was his first win in this event. This could be a difficult spot for her, however. Romans was uncertain if he would take this filly with him to Baltimore, especially because she only has three legitimate races on her resume so far this season. She won the Gulfstream Park Oaks, holding off Kentucky Oaks challenger Paola Queen, but that was well over a month prior to the Kentucky Oaks.
There’s a reason that Kinsley Kisses has snuck in amongst the favorites here this week. Todd Pletcher has four career wins in this race, with the most recent coming back in 2014 with Stopchargingmaria. With Velazquez as the jockey, Pletcher scored a win in 2012 with In Lingerie. His other winners came on Panty Raid in 2007 and Spun Sugar in 2005. Velazquez has been his jockey for three of the four wins. This particular filly was third at the Beaumont Stakes, a Grade III race last month. The Pletcher/Velazquez combination has had so much success here that handicappers are buying in.
She’s A Warrior is also listed in that 6/1 range. She finished third at the Santa Anita Oaks, behind Songbird and Mokat. Mokat finished 13th in the Kentucky Oaks. She’s A Warrior finished third behind Songbird and Land Over Sea at the Las Virgenes Stakes back in February. Overall, the results haven’t been great, but there’s some hope because of the competition that she has faced in past races.
A dark horse, pardon the pun, this week could be Dothraki Queen. Coming from the #2 post, this filly is going off at 15/1 in midweek betting. Dothraki Queen was third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile back on Halloween. Songbird won and she hasn’t been able to compete in any of these races so far. Rachel’s Valentina was second, but she struggled to a sixth-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks. Dothraki Queen finished ahead of Land Over Sea and Ma Can Do It in that race, so there is some potential here for this filly to move to the front of the pack.
NBC Sports Network will have coverage of this race on Friday May 21, with a post time of 4:50 p.m. ET.