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Black-Eyed Susan Preview: Competitive Field Set to Throw Down
Ernie Belmonte

Black-Eyed Susan Preview: Competitive Field Set to Throw Down

Hi Ho Pimlico! Horse racing trudges on this weekend after what has been a crazy week, but hey, at least we can now turn our attention to a big race now. This Friday’s Black-Eyed Susan Stakes has drawn a competitive field of 10 horses, which should make for a great betting affair. The Black-Eyed Susan is slated as race 13 on the 14 race Friday card, with 6 of those races being stakes events. Local post time for the contest is 5:44 PM ET.

Leading the way, incredibly, is the Bob Baffert trained Beautiful Gift, who will be making her first start outside of California in this spot. She kicked off her 3-year-old season with a win in the Santa Ysabel Stakes (G3), before finishing second last time out in the Santa Anita Oaks (G2). John Velazquez will have the mount for the third straight time today, with the filly breaking from the far outside post of 10.

Just to her inside will be the Brad Cox trained Adventuring, who is coming to Pimlico off of an impressive win last time out in the Bourbonette Oaks on the synthetic track at Turfway Park. Before that victory, the filly broke her maiden on the dirt at Fair Grounds, winning by 6 1/2-lengths. She will be piloted today by Florent Geroux, breaking from post 9.

The local hopeful for this event is Weber City Miss Stakes winner Miss Leslie. She is an undefeated two for two when racing around two-turns, with her other victory coming in the Anne Arundel County Stakes as a 2-year-old at Laurel Park. Local jockey J. D. Acosta will have the mount again today, with the filly drawing post 7.

The full field from the rail out includes: Army Wife, Willful Woman, Spritz, Forever Boss, Lady Traveler, Iced Latte, Miss Leslie, The Grass Is Blue, Adventuring, and Beautiful Gift.

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Top Choice

#10 Beautiful Gift – Look, I don’t want to pick this filly, but my job is to pick the horse that I think will win the race. There is no doubt she looks like the best horse on paper, while Baffert is usually pretty good at winning amongst a scandal, looking at last year’s Breeders’ Cup as an example. She should be able to stalk the pace from this outside post, giving her first run on the leaders as they turn for home. Hopefully, I’m wrong, but I have to give you the horse I think has the best chance of winning.

Horses to Use in Multi Race Wagers

#9 Adventuring – This Brad Cox trained filly has won two straight races, including the Bourbonette Oaks last time out at Turfway Park. That race was on a synthetic surface; however, she did break her maiden two starts back on the dirt at Fair Grounds. She’s never run outside of the money in four starts, seems to be improving with each race, and has Brad Cox on her side. Obviously, you can see there are a lot of positives with her coming into this race.

#1 Army Wife – After Search Results ran so well in the Kentucky Oaks (G1), it definitely elevates those that finished behind her in the Gazelle Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct. Army Wife was third in that race, while The Grass Is Blue was fourth, making both of them interesting in this race. The Gazelle was also the same distance as today’s contest, which strengthens the argument that she will run well today.

#8 The Grass Is Blue – As stated above, she comes out of the Gazelle Stakes (G3), where she was beaten by Kentucky Oaks (G1) runner up Search Results. She also has a win at today’s distance, while having strong connections such as Chad Brown and Irad Ortiz Jr. on your side is never a bad thing. The pace seems hot in this race as well, which also should favor her running style quite a bit.

Exotic Plays

#6 Iced Latte – After two solid races in a row, there is no doubt she deserves a shot in a race of this caliber, especially with trainer Todd Pletcher on her side. Two races back she broke her maiden at Gulfstream Park, before running a strong second against allowance company in her last start at Belmont Park. She is not up to par with her stablemate Malathaat, but she seems to be improving with each start, while this field is not the toughest you’ll ever see.

#4 Forever Boss – It looks like this girl figured it all out last time out, winning an allowance at Keeneland on the dirt, which was her first race on the surface. A repeat of that effort will give her a big chance here, but you have to wonder why they didn’t try the dirt sooner, as she was not exactly great on the turf and synthetic. So, was last time a fluke, or is this filly for real?

Party Crashers

#7 Miss Leslie – The local hopeful is two for two when racing around two turns, including a win in the local prep race for this event last time out. She takes a big jump up in class for this race today, though, which is the big worry. Still, as a long shot she makes since, especially since she has experience over this race track.

#2 Willful Woman – She has won 2 out of her last 3 starts; however, she was no match for her rivals two races back in the Honeybee Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park. Did the competition get to her, or did she just not show up that day for a different reason? If she can run her best race here, she’ll have a chance, while we know these connections are tough to beat. As a long shot, she makes sense.

Throw Outs

#5 Lady Traveler – Her best races, by far, have come in one turn events. Today’s 1 1/8-mile distance isn’t something she should enjoy, which makes her tough to play. Look for this horse down the line when they cut her back to one-turn races.

#3 Spritz – The dirt is the biggest question mark with this runner. After two failed efforts on the surface, she moved to the synthetic, where she had much better luck. A move back to the dirt doesn’t seem like the best idea, especially in this tough spot.

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