Nine To Line Up For 88th Black-Eyed Susan
Pletcher pair takes aim at 7-5 Favorite Mamma Kimbo in Grade 2 Test For Three-Year Old Fillies
BALTIMORE – On the one hand, trainer Todd Pletcher is looking for redemption. On the other, it’s all about progression. Pletcher will saddle both Disposablepleasure and In Lingerie in the 88th renewal of the $300,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2) on Friday at Pimlico Race Course.
Seven other stakes help comprise the 13-race card including the return of the historic Pimlico Special (G3) and also features the $30,000 Pimlico Female Jockey Challenge, back for its second year, and the Lady Legends for the Cure Race III, a pari-mutuel event featuring eight retired female riders.
Disposablepleasure had two wins and a second from four starts at 2, closing her juvenile campaign by overcoming a stumble at the break for a nose victory in the Grade 2 Demoiselle at Aqueduct, run at the Black-Eyed Susan’s 1 1/8-mile distance.
This year, the gray daughter of 2005 Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo was no factor running fourth in the Davona Dale (G2) at Gulfstream Park in February, and third in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) on March 31, her most recent start.
Owned by Glencrest Farm, Disposablepleasure was beaten nine lengths in Louisiana by Believe You Can, who came back to upset the Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs on May 4 at odds of nearly 14-to-1.
“To be honest with you, we’ve been a little bit disappointed in both of her races this year,” Pletcher said. “She’s a filly that showed in the Demoiselle that she can compete at this level. She trained all winter like a filly that’s able to win these types of races, yet her fourth and her third were not up to the standards of her training.
“We felt a little bit better after the Kentucky Oaks that the Fair Grounds race was maybe a little bit stronger than it seemed at the time, but she continues to train like a filly that’s better than that. Hopefully, she’s rounding into form, and it’s just taking her a couple starts to get there.”
Making her seventh start on her seventh different track, Disposablepleasure is one of three graded stakes winners in the field and the only one with a win at nine furlongs.
“I think the mile-and-an-eighth will suit her well,” Pletcher said, “so, we’re optimistic that she’ll show up and run her ‘A’ race.”
A daughter of Empire Maker, In Lingerie came to Pletcher after she was purchased by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber following her maiden victory at Turfway Park in her career debut Jan. 12.
She ran second to ZoImpressive in an optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 25 in her only try on conventional dirt, then led gate to wire in winning the Bourbonette Oaks (G3) at Turfway March 24.
“She ran a very credible race the first time we ran her,” Pletcher said. “She missed the break and got some dirt in her face for the first time, and finished up well to a really nice filly, so we were pleased with that.
“We went back to Turfway, and she won pretty convincingly there. We flirted with the idea of the Kentucky Oaks, but we felt like, with a filly that had only had three starts, that perhaps this was a better progression for her. She has trained very well.”
Trainer Chad Brown is eager to see a similar kind of development from Welcome Guest, a gray Unbridled’s Song filly who will make her fourth lifetime start in the Black-Eyed Susan.
Welcome Guest, like In Lingerie, did not race as a 2-year-old, kicking off her career finishing second in a six-furlong sprint at Gulfstream in February. She rated just off the lead before sprinting clear to a 5 ½-length maiden victory four weeks later, then rallied three wide for second in the Comely (G3) at Aqueduct on April 7.
“She was just a little immature and needed a little bit more time,” Brown said. “We gave it to her, and she’s rewarded us. She’s come back really nice as a 3-year-old.
“I thought her race in the Comely was good. She’s still lightly raced, but she’s developing nicely. The timing of this race was right, and it’s the Black-Eyed Susan. It’s a very nice, prestigious race, so we’re excited about bringing her over there and running in it.”
Brown feels Welcome Guest has the potential to be any kind of horse, though she didn’t give any outward indication until she ran.
“She was just average in the morning before we debuted her; not bad, but she wasn’t turning any heads, either,” Brown said. “After we debuted her for the first time, she came out of the race super and really got focused on being a racehorse. From there on, she’s developed nicely in her works and her races.
“I’m going to take it a race at a time for her. I could foresee her developing into a really nice filly through the summer and the rest of the year, from what I’ve seen. So far, she’s been a good one.”
The 7-to-5 program favorite for the Black-Eyed Susan is unbeaten Discreet Cat filly Mamma Kimbo, trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert for Peachtree Stable.
Mamma Kimbo rolled to a 5 ¼-length victory in her debut on Feb. 18 at Santa Anita, then went all the way on the lead to take the Fantasy (G2) at Oaklawn Park in April. The Fantasy was her first race with Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith, who gets the return call.
Plum owns a pair of wins in Maryland, including a victory over older horses at Pimlico in her most recent start on April 26. She also captured the $75,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship at Laurel Park in December to cap her 2-year-old season.
Also entered are Wildcat’s Smile, who beat boys in the $260,000 New York Breeders’ Futurity last fall and ran second to Disposablepleasure in the Demoiselle; and stakes winners Glinda the Good and Zucchini Flower and Oaks Lily, who has been training at Pimlico for nearly a week.
The Black-Eyed Susan field, from the rail out: Glinda the Good (trainer Steve Asmussen, jockey Corey Nakatani, 122 pounds), 12-1; Disposablepleasure (Todd Pletcher, Javier Castellano, 122), 5-1; Welcome Guest (Chad Brown, Ramon Dominguez, 116), 4-1; Mamma Kimbo (Bob Baffert, Mike Smith, 122), 7-5; Oaks Lily (Timothy Hills, Julien Leparoux, 116), 30-1; Plum (Rodney Jenkins, Abel Castellano, 116), 30-1; In Lingerie (Pletcher, John Velazquez, 122), 9-2; Wildcat’s Smile (Dominic Galluscio, Rosie Napravnik, 116), 10-1; and Zucchini Flower (Graham Motion, Sheldon Russell, 122), 10-1.