BALTIMORE – Like her more celebrated stablemate, Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Nyquist, Kentucky Oaks (G1) runner-up Land Over Sea will make a two-week turnaround for Friday’s $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2) at Pimlico Race Course.
The 92nd running of the 1 1/8-mile Black-Eyed Susan, Maryland’s showcase event for 3-year-old fillies, highlights a 14-race program that features seven stakes, four graded, worth $1.15 million including the $300,000 Sagamore Spirit Pimlico Special (G3), $150,000 Allaire DuPont (G3) and $150,000 Adena Springs Miss Preakness (G3).
Gates open at 9:30 a.m. First race post is 11:30 a.m. There will be six guaranteed multi-race wagering pools, including a $400,000 guaranteed pool on the late Pick 4 starting with the Black-Eyed Susan (G2).
Black-Eyed Susan Day also marks the return of the Ultimate Girls Day Out, offering multiple events throughout the afternoon celebrating the spirit and strength of women.
Hailing from the same connections – owner J. Paul Reddam, trainer Doug O’Neill and jockey Mario Gutierrez – as Nyquist, Land Over Sea will be making her seventh straight graded stakes start in the Black-Eyed Susan. From early September to early March she ran up against undefeated champion filly Songbird five times, finishing second in the Chandelier (G1), Las Virgenes (G2) and Santa Ysabel (G2) at Santa Anita.
Shipped cross-country to Louisiana, she broke through with a 4 ½-length triumph March 26 in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2), where she raced wide on both turns and rallied in the stretch to pull clear as the favorite in a field of eight.
“I think it was a big step for all of us, just seeing her doing it on the road,” O’Neill said. “Seeing how good Songbird is, getting away from her was going to give us positive results. Sometimes when you get beat up by a great horse like Songbird you worry you’re hurting your horse’s chances of building that kind of confidence. Seeing her get away from Songbird and put in the effort she did made us all real happy about her future.”
A chestnut daughter of Bellamy Road, Land Over Sea was pointed to the Kentucky Oaks, her first try at 1 1/8 miles. She overcame an awkward start, wide trip and traffic trouble in mid-stretch to get up for second, a neck in front of Lewis Bay and 2 ¾ lengths behind impressive winner Cathryn Sophia.
“It looked like we were going to run fifth or sixth and still run a good race, but for her and Mario to just never quit and get up for second was a phenomenal effort,” O’Neill said. “Mario said she just kind of hesitated leaving there. She didn’t really follow the doors in a manner that put her in a better position. He did the right thing. He didn’t panic and just let her settle where she was which was a little farther back than we had hoped, but because of him settling she had that punch to get up for second.”
Gutierrez will ride Land Over Sea from post 3 at co-highweight of 122 pounds.
Also coming out of the Oaks is Mike Tarp’s Go Maggie Go, winner of the Gulftream Park Oaks (G2) in just her second lifetime start. The Ghostzapper filly wound up fourth in Kentucky, beaten just three lengths despite a trip where she was squeezed at the start, steadied near the half-mile pole and forced well wide down the stretch.
Like Go Maggie Go, Cheyenne Stables’ Kinsley Kisses will be making just her fourth career start in the Black-Eyed Susan and first beyond seven furlongs. Unraced at 2, she was most recently third in the Beaumont (G3) at Keeneland.
“She was at Saratoga last year and being fairly close to ready to run and had a little setback that she needed some time off for. She’s come back very well from it,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “She’s a filly that we’ve always felt like was going to appreciate added distance. Just by circumstances we haven’t been able to get her around two turns yet, so we’re looking forward to doing that. She’s always trained like a filly that had graded stakes ability and would appreciate two turns.”
A P Majetstic earned a fees-paid trip to the Black-Eyed Susan by virtue of her victory via disqualification of stablemate In the Navy Now for interference in the Weber City Miss Stakes April 9 at Laurel Park. They both return on Friday for Maryland-based trainer Mike Trombetta.
Also entered are multiple Grade 1-placed Dothraki Queen making her second start of the year; Ma Can Do It, third in the Alcibiades (G1) last fall at Keeneland; C R K Stable’s She’s a Warrior, third in the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) and Las Virgenes (G2) at Santa Anita this year; Ma Can Do It, Grade 3-placed Flora Dora; recent Oaklawn Park allowance winner Cced from Hall of Fame-elect trainer Steve Asmussen; Rachel Alexandra (G2) runner-up Midnight On Onconee; Double Entendre, fifth in the Gulfstream Park Oaks April 2 making just her third lifetime start; and maiden winners Downdraft and Mom’s On Strike.
Pimlico Race Course