Belmont Stakes Contenders
Black-Eyed Susan Day
Preakness Thursday Photos
Spun Sugar and John Velazquez in the winner's circle
after the 2005 Black-Eyed Susan.
The $200,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes is the Maryland equivalent to the Kentucky Oaks, with 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/8 miles on the main track in the Grade 2 event. Six made the entry box with no scratches despite the sloppy going, and Frank Stronach-owned Spun Sugar was sent off as the 6-5 favorite over 3-1 second choice Runway Model. Spun Sugar came into the race off a 2-race win streak, a maiden and an allowance, while Runway Model is a multiple stakes winner but finished a well-beaten sixth in the Kentucky Oaks two weeks ago.
In the early stages, 17-1 longest shot Merrill Gold led the field through a quarter in 23.99 and a half in 48.28, as 7-1 shot Pleasant Chimes and favorite Spun Sugar pressed the pace down the backstretch. Rounding the turn, jockey John Velazquez asked the favorite Spun Sugar for her run and got it, as she ran by the pacesetter after 6 furlongs in 1:14.08, and drew away through the lane to win by 3 3/4 lengths over the late running 9-2 third choice R Lady Joy in a time of 1:53.27 for the 9 furlong trip. It was another 3 lengths back to Pleasant Chimes in third, and a long 14-length gap back to Runway Model in fourth.
Also check out the results for the Pimlico Special which followed this race on the card. Farther down this page are the results of the two other stakes on the undercard.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 6 Spun Sugar Velazquez 4.40 3.00 2.80 5 R Lady Joy Velasquez 4.60 3.40 1 Pleasant Chatter Coa 3.80 Winning Time: 1:53.27 $2 Exacta 6-5 17.60 $2 Trifecta 6-5-1 78.40 $1 Superfecta 6-5-1-2 80.80
Spun Sugar heads for the winner's circle after the race. Winning rider John Velazquez said, " I didn't know why Prado's horse was getting out on the first turn. I couldn't see him, but I got up to him on the second turn so I could get by if she did it again. When my filly moved by she was pretty game to draw away."
The happy connections in the winner's circle. Owner Frank Stronach's wife Elfriede is in the center with trainer Todd Pletcher to the right. Pletcher said, "I was concerned with what was taking place on the first turn. I didn't know what was happening to Edgar's (Prado) horse (Merrill Gold), but my filly looked like she got through it okay, and it was fortunate the way it all worked out."
Second place finisher R Lady Joy in the post parade. Her trainer Kirk Ziadie said, "My horse ran very well again, but refused to change leads. I don't have any trouble at all with her in the morning, but for some reason in the afternoon she won't change leads."
Third place finisher Pleasant Chatter in the post parade. Her jockey Eibar Coa said, "I had very good position early. She kept trying and I kept urging her. She did run a good race. She handled the track pretty good."
Only 4 older fillies and mares showed up at the starting gate for the Grade 3 Pimlico Breeders' Cup Distaff Handicap, after 5 were scratched due to the sloppy trsck. Last year's champion 3-year-old filly and Breeders' Cup Distaff winner Ashado was bet down to prohibitive 3-10 favoritism, with Pleasant Home the 7-2 second choice. John Velazquez sent the champion to the front right away, and she was loose on the lead through respectable fractions of 24.31, 48.89, 1:13.28 despite the slow surface. She was 2 1/2 lengths clear with a furlong to go and appeared to be home free, but 7-1 longest shot Silmaril, who had saved ground and tracked the pace in third the whole way around, closed determinedly through the lane and caught the favorite in the final strides to prevail by 3/4 length in a time of 1:44.87 for the 1 1/16 mile event. It was 5 lengths back to Friel's For Real in third, and 1 1/2 lengths back to Pleasant Home fourth and last.
Full results chart from DRF
Winning trainer Christopher Grove said, "It was an outstanding performance. I knew she loved the slop. It was her first graded win. When I worked her last week Ryan (jockey Fogelsonger) said 'We're ready for Ashado.' I said, 'Ashado who?'"
Winning jockey Ryan Fogelsonger said, "I'm very excited. We just beat a Breeders' Cup champ. There was absolutely no pace in the race. I was sitting down the backside just getting tugged along. As Ashado began to pull away we came digging with every stride. Nobody was gonna get by me."
Second place finisher and beaten favorite Ashado. Her trainer Todd Pletcher said, "Obviously I was concerned with the condition of the track. It was similar to the way it was the day she ran in the Alabama. It rained all morning and it was drying out as the day went along. You can tell by the times of the races it's not a fast track today. It's kind of a sticky, gooey surface, probably not her favorite. I thought despite that she ran a good race. I thought it was a much better race than she ran at Oaklawn." Jockey John Velazquez said, "Perfect trip. She just couldn't handle the track."
The Grade 3 Adena Stallions' Miss Preakness Stakes saw seven 3-year-old fillies sprint 6 furlongs on the main track for a $100,000 purse. As well, the top 3 finishers will be offered a breeding season to Macho Uno, Running Stag, or Red Bullet. 16-1 longest shot Partners Due and 12-1 shot Missile Bay battled it out on the front end through a quarter in 23.75 and a half in 46.80. Missile Bay was through and dropped back to a sixth place finish, as Partners Due was 2 lengths clear with a furlong to go. However, 2-1 second choice Burnish, fifth early, unleashed her run late on the turn, and rallied strongly to grab the lead inside the 1/16 pole and drew away to win by 2 lengths over Partners Due in 1:12.40. It was another 1 1/4 length back to 4-1 third choice Hot Storm in third. Favorite Maddalena had a bumpy start, raced wide throughout, and flattened out late to finish last.
Full results chart from DRF
Winning trainer Nick Zito said, "The filly's bred by one of the great breeders of all time, Arthur Hancock. That's all you have to say. I was glad to see the muddy track because she ran so well on a wet track at Keeneland last out. She ran huge today."
Winning jockey Rafael Bejarano said, "I had a lot of horse throughout the race. She wasn't even blowing hard. I wanted to stay close and make one big move, and that move was everything I was hoping for and more."
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