BALTIMORE – Showing no ill effects from the two-week turnaround off a difficult trip in the Kentucky Oaks (G1), Mike Tarp’s homebred Go Maggie Go shook off Kinsley Kisses with an eighth of a mile to run and pulled away to a 2 ½-length victory in the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan Friday at Pimlico Race Course.
The 92nd running of the 1 1/8-mile stakes for 3-year-old fillies was the centerpiece of Friday’s spectacular 14-race program that served as a fitting prelude to Saturday’s 141st Preakness Stakes (G1).
The Black-Eyed Susan card drew a record attendance of 47,956, up 18 percent over last year’s crowd of 42,700. Friday’s handle of $18,661,325 was a 4.7 percent boost over last year’s $17,815,613.
“It was a great day that featured great performances on the track,” said Maryland Jockey Club President and General Manager Sal Sinatra. “The atmosphere and crowd were tremendous. We want to thank everyone who came out as well as our horsemen for putting on another great show. We’re looking forward to Saturday’s 141st Preakness (G1) and another great race program featuring 14 races.”
Go Maggie Go’s stablemate, 50-1 long shot Ma Can Do It, got up late for second, a head in front of Kinsley Kisses, to complete the exacta for trainer Dale Romans, upset winner of last year’s Black-Eyed Susan with Keen Pauline.
“This is such a special race in a special city that still loves horse racing so much and treats us all with such open arms when we come to town,” Romans said. “I tell everyone that the Kentucky Derby is the most intense race in the world, this [weekend] is the most fun for horsemen. We get out of that boiler pot over there and we come here, and Baltimore just opens its arms to us. We love it here.”
A bay daughter of Hall of Famer Ghostzapper, Go Maggie Go was making just her fourth career start in the Black-Eyed Susan and first since rallying from far back to be fourth, beaten three lengths, following an awkward break and wide trip in the May 7 Oaks.
“She should have been closer to the pace in the Oaks. She crossed her legs and when they were straightening her up they sprung the latch and she just got left behind,” Romans said. “That’s what showed me the quality filly that she is, because she had been close to the lead in her two previous starts and [in the Oaks] she got all the dirt and still came running. When she left there clean today, I didn’t think they were going to beat her.”
Second choice at 9-5 in a field of 12 behind Oaks runner-up Land Over Sea, Go Maggie Go ($5.60) broke well from Post 2 and engaged in a duel for the lead with Kinsley Kisses through a quarter-mile in 23.49 seconds, a half in 48.83 and six furlongs in 1:13.54.
Go Maggie Go and jockey Luis Saez were able to put away Kinsley Kisses after running a mile in 1:38.58 and were able to gain some separation down the stretch before hitting the wire in 1:51.81 over a fast main track.
“When she broke from the gate [in the Oaks] she got a little bothered and then we came from way back. She made a big move, but we lost a lot of ground,” Saez said. “Today, she got a nice trip. I didn’t want to be in that position but when we came to the first turn I was right there and I had to let her run.”
The Black-Eyed Susan was the third win in four starts for Go Maggie Go, an impressive debut winner March 13 at Gulfstream Park who came back with a 2 ¼-length victory in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) April 2.
Ma Can Do It remains winless in seven starts but is now multiple graded stakes-placed, including in the Alcibiades (G1) last fall at Keeneland. Kinsley Kisses held on for third, a neck ahead of Dothraki Queen.
“You know I’m here. Run ‘em big, right,” Romans said. “If they’re doing good, run ‘em big.”
Mom’s On Strike, Land Over Sea, She’s a Warrior, Downdraft, Flora Dora, Midnight On Oconee, A P Majestic and Double Entendre completed the order of finish.
Romans will saddle Cherry Wine in Saturday’s Preakness, where undefeated Florida Derby (G1) and Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Nyquist is the morning-line favorite. Nyquist is the stablemate of Land Over Sea, both trained by Doug O’Neill.
Black-Eyed Susan Trainers Quotes
Winning trainer Dale Romans (Go Maggie Go, 1st, Ma Can Do It, 2nd): (From NBC telecast) “This is such a special race in a special city that still loves horse racing so much and treats us all with such open arms when we come to town. I tell everyone that the Kentucky Derby is the most intense race in the world, this is the most fun for horsemen. We get out of that boiler pot over there and we come here, and Baltimore just opens its arms to us. We love it here.”
“She should have been closer to the pace in the Oaks. She crossed her legs and when they were straightening her up they sprung the latch and she just got left behind. That’s what showed me the quality filly that she is, because she had been close to the lead in her two previous starts and she got all the dirt and still came running. When she left there clean today, I didn’t think they were going to beat her.”
(On maiden Ma Can Do It running second at 50-1) “You know I’m here. Run ‘em big, right? If they’re doing good, run ‘em big. I feel no pain right now, so everything is good.”
(Worried at any point?) “Yeah because we were getting pressed by such a quality filly, so you have to have some worries. But, this is a good horse. I mean, Luis (Saez) got off her in the Oaks and told me she might be the best filly he’s ever ridden. I know she’s the best I’ve ever had. She’s doing things horses aren’t supposed to do. It’s only four starts in and she’s won two Grade 2s and fourth in the Kentucky Oaks. What more can you ask for?”
Kenny McPeek (Dothraki Queen, 4th): “She ran great if you like being fourth. She had a little trouble getting inside of the favorite going into the second turn. She kind of got her run started later than we wanted to. She ran great but speed just didn’t back up. She certainly belonged in the Kentucky Oaks. I think she showed that today.”
Joe Sharp (Mom’s On Strike, 5th): “We were really pleased with how she ran, but obviously disappointed because she didn’t get beat far and she looked like a winner turning for home. I think the fact that it was only her third start of her life that probably caught up with her. She seemed a little bit green with the big field and all that. She definitely ran a respectable race and moving forward we’ve got a nice filly.”
Doug O’Neill (Land Over Sea, 6th): “Just a rough trip. She didn’t break real good. They kind of went slow early and she was a victim of a rough trip. Thank God she came back good and Mario (Gutierrez) came back good. We’ll live to fight another day. We’re just fired up about tomorrow.”
Peter Eurton (She’s a Warrior, 7th): “I don’t know that she handled the track well. The first turn was a little hairy. Gary (Stevens) had to steady on the turn a couple times. I don’t know how much that took out of her for the rest of the race. She came back pretty dirty.”
James Lawrence (Downdraft, 8th): “She was compromised right at the beginning. We got pinched back. We wanted to be about fourth or fifth back. She was in trouble all the way down the backside. She ran up the rail and galloped out with the leaders. It was just bad racing luck, but we’re proud of her.”
Andre Stock, Assistant to trainer Larry Jones (Midnight On Oconee, 10th): “I thought Gabriel (Saez) gave her a good ride. I thought we had a nice shot and the race set up perfect, but we just didn’t have the horse today.”
Michael Trombetta (A P Majestic, 11th): “She was deeply challenged for sure. For a long shot in one of these races, everything’s got to go their way. She might have hit her hip coming out of the gate and she was a little snug going into the first turn. My jockey felt she couldn’t keep pace at the top of the stretch and made sure to bring her home safely.”
Peter Walder (Double Entendre, 12th): “She was a little rank early. She’s her own worst enemy. She’s got talent, but she’s just her own worst enemy. I was hoping to be closer, but she got cut off at the start. I really wanted to be closer, but it just didn’t work out like that.”
Black-Eyed Susan Jockeys Quotes
Winning Jockey Luis Saez (Go Maggie Go) – “When she broke from the gate (in the Kentucky Oaks) she got a little bothered and then we came from far back. She made a move but we lost a lot of ground. Today she got a nice trip. I didn’t want to be in that position, but when we came to the first turn I was right there and I had to let her run.”
Brian Hernandez Jr. (Ma Can Do It, 2nd): “I had a great trip and was able to save ground all the way around. She broke well and I was going to be forwardly placed but when I saw (trainer) Dale’s (Romans) other horse (Go Maggie Go) in front of me I let her go. Dale told me to ride her with confidence. For a maiden to come back like that (in the stretch) against stakes winners, that’s really good.”
John Velazquez (Kinsley Kisses, 3rd): “We had her basically in a perfect spot. We just didn’t have enough at the end.”
Julien Leparoux (Dothraki Queen, 4th): “I had a good trip except for a little bumping in the first turn. I thought it best to ease her back and make one run, but it did not set up well for us. This is a nice filly. She ran well.”
Irad Ortiz Jr. (Mom’s On Strike, 5th): “I had to take my horse back a little. We didn’t have the best of trips, but I tried to stay in the race. On the turn, she came on in the end and put in a good run.”
Mario Gutierrez (Land Over Sea, 6th): “Unbelievable. We never had a chance to run.”
Gary Stevens (She’s a Warrior, 7th): “She had a rough trip. When she was going into the first turn, we got bumped around a little bit. Then she settled into a nice stride. But that first turn really took its toll on her. She ran a good pace but we’re just a little disappointed.”
Angel Cruz (Downdraft, 8th): “My horse really didn’t get into the race very well. We didn’t have good position and we didn’t have much room to run until the very end of the race.”
Junior Alvarado (Flora Dora, 9th): “My horse broke slow so I had to be three wide the entire race. With a better trip, we would have run much better. I got her into it at the three-eighths pole but because we had such bad position, there wasn’t much that I could do.”
Gabriel Saez (Midnight On Oconee, 10th) – “We broke sharp and went a quick first quarter. The second quarter was slowed down and we were in a comfortable spot. When I asked her to pick it up, she just couldn’t keep up.”
Victor Carrasco (A P Majestic, 11th): “We had a little trouble out of the gate and then we got in a tight place in the first turn. She got a little nervous or excited and she lunged. I didn’t want to abuse her, so I just took care of her for the next race.”
Javier Castellano (Double Entendre, 12th): “In the first part of the race I tried to settle behind horses. She threw her head and was so hard to settle, then finally she did.”
Black-Eyed Susan-Preakness Double Payoffs
Go Maggie Go with:
- Cherry Wine – $151
- Uncle Lino – $350.80
- Nyquist – $12.20
- Awesome Speed – $726.40
- Exaggerator – $20.80
- Lani – $243.40
- Collected – $143.20
- Laoban – $806.60
- Abiding Star – $513.80
- Fellowship – $627.60
- Stradivari – $54.60
About Pimlico Race Course