Photo: Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club
With Stopchargingmaria’s win in the Black-Eyed Susan Todd Pletcher got his fourth victory and tied his former boss, D. Wayne Lukas, for
the most wins in this stake for three year-old fillies. Pletcher previously won
this race in 2012 with In Lingerie, Party Raid in 2007, and in 2005 with Sugar
A field of eleven went into the starting gate for the
Black-Eyed Susan (G2) on a racetrack that was pounded by nearly two inches of
rain over night. By post time, late in the afternoon, the track had dried
enough to be classified as GOOD.
Mike Repole’s Stopchargingmaria was made the second betting
choice at 7-2 behind her stable mate, Sloane Square, who was the 3-1 favorite. In
what turned out to be an important factor, these two Pletcher fillies had recently
been training together in Saratoga.
Stopchargingmaria was sent to Saratoga after two lackluster performances at Gulfstream Park. On
the Oklahoma Training Track she has able to regain her best form. In the fall she won the Tempted and
Demoiselle, two graded stakes in November at Aqueduct.
Stopchargingmaria ran into some trouble at the start of the
Black-Eyed Susan and Pletcher’s plan to have her forwardly placed went out the
window. A slow early pace was set by two long shots, Image of Anna and Vero Amore.
Image of Anna was on the lead and Vero Amore sat a length behind after a
half-mile in :48.90. As Image of Anna started to fade Vero Amore kept right on
going. At the same time Javier Castellano had moved Stopchargingmaria into position to make her move.
Let’s hear how Pletcher described the race, “It was a
terrific performance. We actually got shuffled back going a little bit into the
first turn. We were hoping to be a little bit closer. Javier was able to move
her to the outside and get in a good position and she closed determinedly. Once
she got to the outside you could tell by the far turn she was starting to make
her move. Everything was going smoothly at that point.”
As Vero Amore entered the stretch, Stopchargingmaria came up
to her outside. The two of them battled head to head all the way down the
stretch with Stopchargingmaria edging out to a neck victory by the time they
hit the wire 1:51.79.
The Black-Eyed Susan was the fourth victory for
Stopchargingmaria in eight career starts. She paid $9.60 to win and earned Repole Stable $300,000. It was Javier Castellano’s
first win in this Pimlico stake.