Friday's Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes will warm up Pimlico for Saturday's 138th Preakness Stakes. The sister event for the second leg of the triple crown carries a $500,000 purse and a talented field of three-year-old fillies.
Blood-Horse's senior correspondent Steve Haskin gives us an idea of the kind of field this race will feature:
Steve Haskin @SteveHaskin
Black-Eyed Susan drew a very deep and fascinating group from all over, including Emollient and Fiftshadesofhay.& several other nice fillies5/12/2013, 11:12:43 PM
Emollient is the morning-line favorite for this 1 1/8-mile race at 9-5. But Fiftyshadesofhay, who deserves at least a $2 bet on name alone, is right behind her at 2-1. A little further back is Walkwithapurpose at 5-1.
I'll offer up a deeper look at these three horses below.
|1||Manuka Honey ||Edgar Prado ||10/1|
|2||Lady Banks||Julian Pimentel||30/1|
|4||Petit Trianon||Victor Carrasco||20/1|
|9||Marathon Lady||Robby Albarado||12/1|
*Post positions and odds via the Miami Herald.
It's easy to see why this Bill Mott-trained horse is the favorite.
Emollient has five races under her belt, and she's won three of them. That includes a win in the Grade-1 Ashland Stakes on April 6. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith got the mount on that day, and he will for this race.
With Mott's Hall of Fame credentials, the daughter of Empire Maker has a strong background.
Emollient didn't just win the Ashland Stakes, she was in a league of her own in that 13-horse field as she cruised to an easy win.
It isn't all dominance for Emollient, though. She was among one of the many horses to get blown off the track by Dreaming of Julia on March 30. However, Emollient didn't even finish in the money in that Grade-2 race.
Fiftyshadesofhay gave trainer Bob Baffert a show at the Santa Anita Oaks on April 6. She looked strong in the Grade-1 outing, but was looking up at a familiar site.
The Daily Racing Form's Marcus Hersh explains:
Marcus Hersh @DRFHersh
Have to think Fiftyshadesofhay in Black Eyed Susan will be very pleased not to be chasing Beholder again Friday.5/14/2013, 9:00:49 PM
Beholder not only took the Santa Anita Oaks, but also the Grade 1 Las Virgenes on March 2—where Fiftyshadesofhay was second.
Her time out before those two races. She took the Santa Ysabel Stakes on a wet/fast surface at Santa Anita Park in the Grade-3 race at the end of January.
Rafael Bejarano has gotten the mount in all seven of this horse's starts, but the red-hot Joel Rosario will take the reigns for this race, which is certainly enough to give this horse a little extra attention.
It will be important for Fiftyshadesofhay to stay patient, and if she does, she will be right there battling for the win.
Walkwithapurpose is a local horse. She is a Sagamore Farm's Maryland homebred and enters with a nice track record.
Her last start she had a show seven lengths off the pace in the Gazelle Stakes behind winner Close Hatches and Princess of Sylmar on April 6. That Grade-2 effort is her only graded race, but it is also the only start in her last four she didn't win.
This horse has a win at the one-mile Caeser's Wish Stakes at Laurel Park on March 2. She took that one by nearly 10 lengths.
Sagamore Racing tweeted a shot of Walkwithapurpose getting a little work in:
Sagamore Racing @SagamoreRacing
Here's video of Walkwithapurpose on the track @PimlicoRC this morning! All set for the @BESStakes on Friday! http://t.co/UrZVlXLO4T5/15/2013, 12:50:08 PM
This is a strong horse in a familiar environment and a nice post position. Look for Walkwithapurporse to make a nice push for the win down the stretch.