Before we get to the second jewel of the Triple Crown on Friday, the fillies will take center stage on Friday at Pimlico in the $500,000 Black Eyed Susan (G2), one of seven stakes on an outstanding 13-race card.
The Black Eyed Susan did not attract any of the runners that raced two weeks ago in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs, but the race did draw a talented group of runners, originally nine but late scratches of Walkwithapurpose and Manuka Honey reduces the field to seven.
Hall of fame trainer Bill Mott will saddle the 9-5 morning line favorite Emollient, who is coming off a strong performance on polytrack in the Ashland (G1) at Keeneland where the filly took the field gate to wire and drew off to win by nine widening lengths.
Mott won the 2010 running of the Black Eyed Susan with Royal Delta.
The daughter of Empire Maker has won three of her six career starts and will have hall of fame rider Mike Smith aboard for the ride.
Her main rival figures to be Fiftyshadesofhay for fellow hall of fame trainer Bob Baffert. The filly was third in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) behind the winner Beholder, who ran second in the Kentucky Oaks.
The other stakes on the card are great betting races including the $100,000 Miss Preakness which drew a field of 11 three-year-old fillies that will go six furlong on the main track.
The Tony Dutrow trained I’m Mom’s Favorite is the 8-5 morning line favorite off a seven length win against first level optional claimers.
The $300,000 Pimlico Special (G3) drew a solid field of seven older runners that will go 1 3/16 miles. Chad Brown will send out the streaking Last Gunfighter (7-5), who has won five races in a row, taking the Excelsior (G3) at Aqueduct in his last outing.
Henry Clark winner Eightistofasttocatch (9-5) and multiple Grade 1 winner Richard’s Kid (7-2) also figure to take some betting action.
My Best Plays Report for Friday includes my 10 strongest plays from Pimlico and Belmont Park.
Let’s head out to Pimlico for Friday’s featured race of the day:
Pimlico Race 10 The Black Eyed Susan G2 (4:47 ET)
6 Maracuya 8-1
7 Emollient 9-5
3 Fiftyshadesofhay 2-1
9 Marathon Lady 12-1
Analysis: Maracuya makes her stakes debut here and it is not an easy spot running into the likes of Emollient and Fiftyshadesofhay, but this gal still appears to have a ton of upside and likely is a decent price in this spot. She broke her maiden in her debut at Gulfstream Park, with the third and fourth place finishers coming back to graduate in their next starts. Last out she took first level optional claimers gate to wire when stretched out to a mile. The runner up in that race was Street Girl, who came back to win the Calder Oaks in her next outing on April 13. This gal has enough pedigree to handle nine furlongs, by Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown out of a Jade Hunter mare that produced 2009 Black Eyed Susan winner Payton d’Oro ($573,035). She owns solid early and mid pace numbers and will be right in the mix from the outset.
Emollient is coming off a good looking gate to wire score on poly in the Ashland (G1) at Keeneland. She rebounded nicely off her fifth place finish behind Dreaming of Julia two back in the Gulfstream Park Oaks. She ran second last fall in the nine furlong Demoiselle (G2) and is bred to handle the extra ground. The Bill Mott trainee drilled a bullet work best of 96. She took command early last out but Mike Smith has options as this filly has sat off the pace in her earlier wins. She is going to be tough here but the price is going to be on the light side. Mott won this race in 2011 with Royal Delta.
Fiftyshadesofhay checked in third last out in the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) and was only beaten for the runner up spot by a neck. She has run into the talented Beholder in her last two starts after winning the Santa Ysabel (G3) three back with a career top. The filly adds blinkers here and Rosario for the Bob Baffert barn that has won this race twice, the last coming with Yearly Report in 2004.
WIN: #6 to win at 5-1 or better.
EX: 6,7 / 3,6,7,9
TRI: 6,7 / 3,6,7,9 / 3,5,6,7,9
Michael’s Report includes his selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire Preakness Day card from historic Pimlico. Michael is a Maryland bred and knows the circuit from the backstretch to the finish line.
The second jewel of the Triple Crown will be run on Saturday, May 18 at Pimlico. The big day of racing has six supporting stakes including the $150,000 Gallorette Handicap and the $100,000 Allare Dupont Distaff Stakes.