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BALTIMORE – Subscribing to the theory of running his horses when they’re doing well in spite of the calendar, trainer Dale Romans will saddle both Go Maggie Go and Ma Can Do It in the 92nd running $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2) Friday at Pimlico Race Course.
Already a Grade 2 winner by virtue of her 2 ¼-length victory in the Gulfstream Park Oaks April 2 in just her second career start, Mike Tarp’s Go Maggie Go enters the Black-Eyed Susan just two weeks after finishing a troubled fourth in the Kentucky Oaks (G1), where she was beaten three lengths.
“I think if you go back and watch the race you can make a case for her being second the other day. She had a rough trip,” Romans said. “She broke away bad and had a little traffic down the lane but she’s a darn good filly.”
A bay daughter of Hall of Famer Ghostzapper, Go Maggie Go was a four-length winner in her unveiling March 13 at Gulfstream Park. After seeing how she exited the Oaks, he didn’t hesitate to try the Black-Eyed Susan, the premier race for 3-year-old fillies in Maryland.
“She’s doing great. She’s just a really good filly. She’s like a colt, so I don’t think the two weeks will hurt her,” he said. “I’ve done it quite a bit, wheel horses back. We used to do it all the time. I don’t know how we got away from it. It became a numbers situation; the numbers said you have to wait. Truth of the matter is, run ‘em.”
Kyle Nagel’s Ma Can Do It will break from post 4 in the 14-horse field, right alongside Go Maggie Go in post 5. Ma Can Do It is winless in six starts with three seconds and one third, that coming in the Alcibiades (G1) last fall. Most recently, she was second in a seven-furlong maiden special weight April 23 at Keeneland.
“I thought she was one of the most talented horses I had before. She’s probably the most accomplished maiden in history,” Romans said. “She’s Grade 1-placed and doing great. I just figured she’s doing good, why wait for her to have a big race and hope she has it in there. If Maggie stubs her toe, Ma will be right there.”
Another Black-Eyed Susan contender, A P Majetstic, breezed three furlongs in 37 seconds Monday at Laurel Park for trainer Mike Trombetta. A P Majetstic earned a fees-paid berth to the race by virtue of her victory in the Weber City Miss April 9 at Laurel.
On her first morning at Pimlico since arriving from Kentucky late Sunday afternoon, Big Chief Racing and James Justice’s Grade 1-placed filly Right There galloped one mile over the main track Monday.
Julie Clark, assistant to trainer Keith Desormeaux, said Right There will breeze a half-mile Tuesday morning at 8:30 in preparation for Friday’s $150,000 Adena Springs Miss Preakness (G3) for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs.
Clark personally vanned Right There and Kentucky Derby (G1) runner-up Exaggerator to Baltimore. Exaggerator is scheduled to run in Saturday’s 141st Preakness Stakes (G1).
“With all the hoopla at [the Kentucky] Derby, we wanted to make sure we got a little extra time in,” Clark said. “She worked a half [May 10] but it was 50 and change so we wanted to give her another one and just tighten her up a little bit.”
Winner of the Landaluce Stakes last summer at Santa Anita in her second start, Right There ran in four graded stakes at 2 finishing third in the Chandelier (G1) Sept. 5. She is winless in four starts this year, two on dirt, one on turf and one on synthetic, and will be cutting back to a sprint for the first time since last fall.
“She won as a young horse sprinting when we thought everything about her said she wanted to go long. We tried her at both and then we thought this was a good opportunity. She’s kind of sitting on a race and we’re here anyway. [Desormeaux] has been talking about wanting to sprint her again, he tried the turf already, so maybe this is the time,” Clark said. “I think she fits, she just has to kind of prove that she’s there.”
Trainer Todd Pletcher said Monday that no decision has been made whether Stonestreet Stables, Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s Stanford will run in Friday’s $300,000 Sagamore Spirit Pimlico Special (G3).
Winner of the Charles Town Classic (G2) last time out, Stanford drew post 2 in an eight-horse field entered Sunday for the 1 3/16-mile race.
“Since it was a five-day entry we felt like we were best suited to enter because the horse is doing very well, buying time to make that decision,” Pletcher said. “One of the things we consider is that he’s run well back in three weeks before. He was second to Materiality [last year] in the Islamorada and ran very well back in the Louisiana Derby three weeks later. That’s one of the discussions we’ll have this week.”
Second in both the Fred Hooper (G3) and Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) this winter after not having raced since late July, Stanford earned his first graded stakes triumph with a front-running two-length score in the Charles Town Classic. As a 3-year-old, he was second by a neck in the Louisiana Derby.
“He’s knocked on the door several times but that was his first one. Needless to say, it was exciting to win a $1.25 million race,” Pletcher said. “He’s a very good-looking son of Malibu Moon. He’s been a consistent performer. He’s run well at multiple distances. I think he’s earned a place in a stallion barn somewhere, but obviously we’d like to pick it up another step.”
A stubborn second after setting the pace and being caught in deep stretch by ageless win machine Ben’s Cat, Diane Manning’s Rapid Dan will take on the multimillionaire Maryland-bred again in Friday’s $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint.
It will be the second stakes race for Rapid Dan, a gelded 5-year-old son of More Than Ready that endured traffic trouble finishing last of 10 in the six-furlong Laurel Dash Sept. 12. He stayed on the grass for one more start at 4, running third in a 5 ½-furlong optional claiming allowance.
On May 1, Rapid Dan set a lively pace and held the lead into deep stretch before grudgingly yielding to a relentless closing effort from Ben’s Cat to lose by a neck. It was the 31st career with for Ben’s Cat in his 10-year-old debut, 25 of those victories coming in stakes.
Ben’s Cat has won the McKay four of the last five years including each of the last three. He will break from post 2 on Friday with Rapid Dan to his inside on the rail, both at 118 pounds.
“He came out of the race really well and he ran a terrific race,” trainer Dale Capuano said of Rapid Dan. “He’s a three-other-than and I couldn’t get him in. He had been ready to run and then you run into Ben’s Cat. He’s won 31 races and when you get to the wire he’s going to beat you most of the time, but I thought Rapid Dan ran very well. He made him run.”
Pimlico Race Course
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