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Several under-the-radar fillies look to step up in Friday’s Grade 2, $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico Race Course.
Summer Luck didn’t get the scratch that she needed in order to run in the Kentucky Oaks, but her team is looking forward to Gary Barber’s 3-year-old filly getting the chance to become a graded stakes winner.
The daughter of 2010 Preakness Stakes winner Lookin At Lucky won on her second attempt last fall in Kentucky, then had a pair of thirds and a close fourth in three stakes at Gulfstream. Summer Luck tried to close behind a crawling pace when fifth in Keeneland’s Grade 1 Ashland.
“She’s doing really well,” said Norman Casse, son of and assistant to trainer Mark Casse, who also entered Barber and Bobby Flay’s Corporate Queen in the 1 1/8-mile Black-Eyed Susan. “We wanted to run her in the Kentucky Oaks. She came back and worked really well. The pace in the Ashland was probably too slow for her liking. We really think she’s a legit horse, and we’re excited to have the opportunity to run her in the Black-Eyed Susan.”
The 93rd running of the Black-Eyed Susan, Maryland’s premier event for 3-year-old fillies, highlights a 14-race program that features six stakes, four graded, worth $1.15 million, including the Grade 3, $300,000 Xpressbet Pimlico Special, the Grade 3, $150,000 Allaire DuPont, and the Grade 3, $150,000 Adena Springs Miss Preakness. First post is 11:30 a.m.
#5 Lights of Medina – It’s shaping up to be a huge weekend for trainer Todd Pletcher, who should start off on the right foot here. Everyone will have their eyes on him one day later in the Preakness Stakes when Always Dreaming aims for the second jewel of the Triple Crown, but winning this race would be a big deal, too. Since relocating from Aqueduct to Laurel Park, this filly has taken off, breaking her maiden and winning the $125,000 Weber City Miss Stakes with ease. That stakes win was eye-catching enough to back her today, and the fact that Pletcher keeps the local jockey on to ride is a good sign. This year’s version of the Black-Eyed Susan is not particularly strong, and Pletcher has set this horse up for the race very well.
#11 Yorkiepoo Princess – She entered the Grade 3 Gazelle Stakes last time out riding a three-race winning streak but had a disastrous trip. She finished eighth, beaten 35 lengths, due to a troubled start that kept her from reaching the front early, her usual position. Expect a turnaround-type of a performance, but this race being her first start outside of New York is concerning. She’s definitely one to use, but shy away from putting her on top.
#7 Moana – This recent maiden special weight winner at Keeneland comes to Baltimore with a big chance. She showed an impressive high cruising speed in her win and it’s a very positive sign that Velazquez is back to ride her again here. The only downside is that she really lacks experience, having only two lifetime races under belt. This will be a tough test, but the talent is there for her to make up for her inexperience.
#9 Summer Luck – She just barely missed out on a start in the Kentucky Oaks, which could be a good thing. Of course, you always want to run in the Oaks, but this is a much more logical place for her to end up because she has a real shot at winning. With the pace looking to be hot up front, it should set up perfectly for her to make one big run at the end. Two races back, she made a pretty big move when trying to catch Miss Sky Warrior, but she just fell short by 3/4 of a length. Hopefully, she can show that kind of effort again today after running a somewhat flat race in the Ashland last time out.
#4 Full House – She enters here after a pair of decent stakes races at Aqueduct, finishing second to Yorkiepoo Princess in the Busher Stakes and third to Lockdown and Miss Sky Warrior (both Kentucky Oaks participants) in the Grade 2 Gazelle. Clearly, the class is there, but she might be a small cut below the top horses in the crop. The pace situation is worrisome, too, because she possesses a lot of speed, and this race has plenty.
#8 Torrent – She’s a solid filly who has stakes experience on her side. She’s hit the board in two out of the three stakes she’s entered, plus she gets the services of Jose Ortiz here, which is a good sign. Her downside is that she was beaten by 6 lengths in her two Oaklawn stakes appearances. The Oaklawn fillies were not very strong this year. She’s a decent candidate for the minor awards, but it’s tough to see her actually winning.
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#1 Shimmering Aspen – She comes into the race riding a winning streak of three, all of which came at Laurel Park. Not only is she winning races, but she’s doing it with ease, taking that trio by a combined 16 lengths. However, the jump up in class here is going to be ultra tough. This will be her first stakes try of any kind. She’s also never gone around two turns before, so that will also be a challenge. She’s definitely a horse that can jump up and win a race like this, but you’ll need a bit of a price on her in order to make a solid wager. She’s one to keep an eye on.
#2 Tapa Tapa Tapa – You may be surprised to see this horse on the “throw outs” list because she’ll likely take some betting money. However, her win over Elate two races back doesn’t mean much now because Elate has failed to live up to her hype, and Tapa Tapa Tapa’s race in the Grade 3 Honeybee Stakes was just average. Add in the fact that the pace could be really hot, and this race doesn’t suit her.
#3 Dancing Rags – She was good enough to run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies race last year, but she was beaten soundly to finish eighth. Her 3-year-old debut was a poor effort in the Grade 3 Beaumont, where she finished a well-beaten sixth. She needs to prove that she can turn it around.
#6 Corporate Queen – She stretched out for the first time last out in the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks and was destroyed by over 12 lengths, finishing fifth. She might do a bit better this time around, but she’s not good enough to make an impact.
#10 Actress – She’s still a maiden and was beaten by a decent filly last time out in My Miss Tapit. This is not the greatest field that she’s facing today, but she’s not ready for this kind of race.
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