Wyomia heads field of seven in Black-Eyed Susan
Wyomia heads field of seven in Black-Eyed Susan
Luck, both good and bad, has been with WYOMIA (Vindication) this year. In her seasonal debut in the March 12 Suncoast S. at Tampa Bay Downs, her stretch bid was timed perfectly as she got up to win by a head. In Keeneland's Ashland S. (G1) the following month, jockey Fredric Lenclud lost his irons as Wyomia was making a potential winning rally against Lilac and Lace (Flower Alley), but she fell a length short of catching the California longshot.
Wyomia will be hoping for luck of the positive variety when she faces six other three-year-old fillies in Friday's $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan S. (G2), the 1 1/8-mile Preakness Eve feature at Pimlico. The 13-race card features four other stakes, the inaugural Female Jockey Challenge featuring six of the world's top female riders, and the "Lady Legends For the Cure II" race featuring eight retired female jockeys.
Draw a line through her two turf attempts and Wyomia has been hard to beat. A comfortable winner of her maiden and the Mazarine S. (Can-G3) on Woodbine's Polytrack, the Ashland has been her only setback on a synthetic surface. The Suncoast, her only race on dirt thus far, was evidence that getting loam kicked in her face is no obstacle either. The early 9-5 morning-line favorite, Wyomia will be ridden by Julien Leparoux in the Black-Eyed Susan.
The only other graded stakes winner in the field if HOT SUMMER (Malibu Moon), who notched the April 9 Comely S. (G3) by 2 1/4 lengths with a strong rally up the inside. The David Fawkes trainee took two of three as a juvenile, but found herself in the unusual position of being the pacesetter in the February 26 Davona Dale S. (G2) in her stakes debut. She eventually wilted to fifth, 15 1/4 lengths behind blowout winner R Heat Lightning (Trippi). Reverting to stalk-and-pounce tactics in the Comely, Hot Summer came through at 6-1 and will seek a second straight win on Friday under Ramon Dominguez.
A potential contender for favoritism is ROYAL DELTA (Empire Maker), who never picked up her feet when ninth in the Suncoast as the 8-5 favorite. The Bill Mott pupil has otherwise smashed her opposition comfortably. A 12-length debut winner at Belmont last fall, she made amends for her Suncoast debacle with a three-length allowance tally at Keeneland last time.
COAX LIBERTY (Successful Appeal), winner of the six-furlong Dearly Precious S. at Aqueduct over the winter, has placed in both the Cicada S. (G3) and Beaumont S. (G2) in her last two, but has never raced around two turns. The rest of the field consists of the Todd Pletcher-trained BUSTER'S READY (More Than Ready), an ex-claimer who defeated four rivals in a Big A allowance last time; LOVE THEWAY YOUARE (Arch), a Hollywood Park allowance winner on April 22; and locally-based longshot ART OF THE HUNT (Lion Hearted), who was cross-entered in the $75,000 Hilltop S. over 1 1/16 miles on the turf.
The Hilltop has attracted a full field that includes BLUSHANDBASHFUL (Even the Score), a close fifth in the Appalachian S. (G3) last time; the Grade 3-placed EXCITED (Giant's Causeway) and DREAM (Malibu Moon); and capable turf maiden winners FRONTSIDE (War Front), ANANDI (Anabaa), MS SILVER OAK (Leroidesanimaux [Brz]) and CELESTIAL KITTEN (Kitten's Joy).
Grade 3 winner FULL MOON BLUES (Petionville) was cross-entered in the Hilltop and the $75,000 Miss Preakness S., a six-furlong dash for sophomore fillies. FINAL MESA (Sky Mesa), winner of four of her five starts including the Old Hat S. (G3) last time, will be the heavy favorite should she opt for this race instead of an overnight stakes at Belmont on Wednesday for which she was also entered. The multiple stakes-placed NINA FEVER (Borrego), entrymate of Final Mesa, was also entered in the Belmont race.
Other contenders in the Miss Preakness are stakes veterans R HOLIDAY MOOD (Trippi), SWEET SUSAN (Wiseman's Ferry) and GRAND KISSES (Grand Reward), and the sharp allowance winners BOLD AFFAIR (Two Punch), STRIKE THE MOON (Malibu Moon) and FAST TIP (Najran).
ROSE CATHERINE (Speightstown), a four-time stakes winner last year is the top draw in the $75,000 The Very One S. for older fillies and mares at five furlongs on the turf. After capturing the Turf Amazon H. last September, Rose Catherine was unplaced twice against males and in the off-the-turf Giant's Causeway S. at Keeneland last month. The main threat might come from the seven-year-old SUZZONA (The Name's Jimmy), a neck second in the 2010 The Very One and subsequently a stakes winner at Tampa Bay Downs.
The old Maryland-bred warrior HEROS REWARD (Partner's Hero) will line up for a fifth time in the $75,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint over five furlongs. The Canadian Grade 2 veteran won this race in 2007 and 2008, ran fifth in 2009, and finished third last season. However, he appears vulnerable to a huge swath of younger rivals including SNEAKING UPONYOU (Snuck In), SOUTHERN REGION (Stormy Atlantic), IMMORTAL EYES (Greatness), JU JITSU JAX (Tiger Ridge), BEN'S CAT (Parker's Storm Cat), BLUE SAILOR (Northern Afleet), GATTOPARDO (Johannesburg), HAVELOCK (Great Notion), YIELD BOGEY (Langfuhr) and SUPER CHUNKY (Put It Back).
First post at Pimlico on Friday is noon (EDT).
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