Stopchargingmaria put on a sparkling show on Friday, winning the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes by a neck over Vero Amore.
After settling in behind pacesetter Image of Anna, Stopchargingmaria and jockey Javier Castellano went four wide down the backstretch and finished with a strong drive to claim the victory.
The win is one more notch in the belt for trainer Todd Pletcher.
This marked the fourth win of a Pletcher-trained horse in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes after victories in 2005, 2007 and 2012.
It was a great moment for Pletcher and Stopchargingmaria after the horse struggled earlier in the season. The trainer gave his thoughts on his horse's performance, and the resurgence of Stopchargingmaria, during a press conference after the race, via WBALTV.com:
It was a terrific performance. We actually got shuffled back a little bit going to the first turn. We were hoping to be a little closer. Javier was able to move her to the outside and get a good position, and she really picked it up. Once she got to the outside on the far turn, she started to make her move and she was rolling. This was certainly her best race. To be honest, I'm not really sure why her first two races this year didn't go as well as last year. It took her a little while after the Fantasy (April 5 at Oaklawn) to get back. After the Fantasy we took her up to Saratoga and the cool weather seemed to invigorate her. Today she acted like she was back to her old self. I like this race; I think it's my fourth Black Eyed Susan.
Stopchargingmaria wasn't the only Pletcher horse to find success at Pimlico this year.
Revolutionary rallied to win the Pimlico Special, as America's Best Racing tweeted a spectacular shot of the finish:
Pletcher is well-established in the racing world. USA racing adviser Bradley Weisbord tweeted his thoughts on how to beat a Pletcher horse:
In case you were unfamiliar with Pletcher's name before the 2014 Black-Eyed Susan, he's been one of America's top trainers for years.
He has trained a long line of winning horses including 2010 Kentucky Derby champion Super Saver. Here's a look at Super Saver's dramatic come-from-behind victory at Churchill Downs:
It was a well-deserved victory for Pletcher after a run of bad luck. According to Beth Harris of The Boston Globe, he dealt with some unfortunate scratches beforehand:
Four years ago, [Pletcher] ended a 0-for-24 skid when long shot Super Saver, one of four horses he entered, won under a rail-hugging ride by Calvin Borel. That was the year Pletcher had the favorite, Eskendereya, who was forced to drop out six days before the Derby with a leg injury. He also had the horse to beat in 2011, Uncle Mo, who was scratched with a stomach ailment on Derby eve.
We can only speculate how many Derby wins Pletcher may have accumulated to this point if he had had better fortune.
This year at Churchill Downs, he entered four horses: Danza, Intense Holiday, We Miss Artie and Vinceremos.
Danza was the best of the lot, running a great race and finishing third. He won't run in Saturday's Preakness Stakes but should be one of the favorites at the Belmont Stakes, giving Pletcher another great shot at a win.
The long line of top contenders under Pletcher is astounding. Stopchargingmaria's victory on Friday only cemented the trainer's legacy even further.
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