Fillies take center stage in Black-Eyed Susan race
BALTIMORE (AP) -- A Hall of Fame trainer and the winning jockey in the Kentucky Derby will join forces Friday in the Black-Eyed Susan, a Grade 2 race for 3-year-old fillies at Pimlico Race Course.
Bob Baffert will saddle Fiftyshadesofhay, who's lost two straight Grade 1 races since capturing the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel in January.
Baffert, who will enter Govenor Charlie in Saturday's Preakness, will vie for his third career victory in the Black-Eyed Susan. Joel Rosario will be aboard Fiftyshadesofhay for the first time; he replaces Rafael Bejarano, who won four times in eight tries on the horse.
Although the horse hasn't been in a race since April 6, she had a strong workout at Churchill Downs on May 10 and is the second-favorite at 2-1.
"We shipped her to Kentucky, but she really didn't ship well. Now, she's doing really well," Baffert said. "She's had a couple of works. Her last work was nice, so we decided to take a shot at it."
Baffert isn't the only Hall of Fame trainer in the race. Bill Mott will oversee Emollient, who has won two of three starts this year - including the Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland last month. Emollient is the 9-5 morning line favorite.
The race will have a local flavor with Walkwithapurpose, who was foaled at Sagamore Farm in Glyndon, Md. In 2007, the farm was purchased by Under Armour chief executive officer Kevin Plank, a native of Maryland.
Winning this race, said trainer Ignacio Correas, "would be a dream come true for all of us. For Kevin, he's a big fan of Maryland, so it would be an honor. For us, it's a very big race. This is only the second crop that we bred. The fact that we are there already makes the farm proud, and being there with a shot. Winning would be a cherry on the top."
Walkwithapurpose is a 5-1 choice in the 1 1/8-mile, $500,000 race. Nine horses have been entered.
Also on Friday, Last Gunfighter will seek his sixth straight win in the Grade 3 Pimlico Special. He will be challenged by Richard's Kid, an 8-year-old trained by Doug O'Neill.
The $300,000 Pimilco Special is the same 1 3/16-mile distance as the Grade 1, $1 million Preakness.