Already a three-time winner this year, Joint Return goes for her biggest payday yet in the 90th renewal of the $500,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) on Friday at Pimlico Race Course.
Photo: NYRA, Adam Coglianese
by John Servis for Main Line Racing Stable, Joint Return will break
from the rail in a field of 11 for the 1 1/8-mile Black-Eyed Susan that
includes a pair of horses from trainer Todd Pletcher, a three-time race
One of Pimlico’s oldest stakes races, first run as the Pimlico Oaks in 1919, the Black-Eyed Susan for 3-year-old fillies is 10th
on a 13-race card worth nearly $1.6 million in purses and featuring
eight stakes races, including the historic $300,000 Pimlico Special
(G3). Both races will be part of NBCSN’s live broadcast from 4-5 p.m.
First race post is noon.
on Friday’s card is the $50,000 Xpressbet Hall of Fame Jockey Challenge
featuring seven of the eight active Hall of Fame riders, and Lady
Legends for the Cure V, presented by Wells Fargo. The first-ever
pari-mutuel race showcasing retired female riders, it is being held for
the final time.
the first time this year, Pimlico has partnered with the local
affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, global leader of the breast
cancer movement, and Baltimore-based Suited To Succeed for “The Ultimate
Girls Day Out,” to support issues important to women.
last graded stakes victory at Pimlico came in the 2004 Preakness Stakes
(G1) with Smarty Jones, who repeated his triumph in the Kentucky Derby
before falling short in the Belmont Stakes, finishing second.
sophomore daughter of Maryland-bred 2001 Pimlico Special (G1) winner
Include, Joint Return has won three of four starts this year, most
recently taking the 8 ½-furlong Calder Oaks by 1 ¾ lengths on April 12.
race came only two weeks after Joint Return was fifth of seven, beaten
12 ½ lengths, under regular rider Kendrick Carmouche in the Gulfstream
Park Oaks (G2), her only previous graded stakes attempt.
just didn’t run her race,” Servis said. “She just didn’t show up.
Kendrick said she never took a hold of the bit at any part of the race
and, for whatever reason, she just wasn’t there.
looking forward to this race, big-time,” he said. “She’s run well
against some decent fillies. The only time she ran against real quality
fillies was at Gulfstream, and she didn’t show up. I’m anxious to see
how she performs this week against the better fillies.”
Return ended her 2-year-old season with a one-mile maiden victory at
Parx Racing in mid-November, then came back to beat winners at first
asking on Jan. 1. In her stakes debut, she rallied for a 4 ¼-length
triumph over Black-Eyed Susan contender Vero Amore in the $100,000
Busher at Aqueduct on Feb. 1.
the way she’s run from day one,” Servis said of her closing style.
“Early on in her training, she wasn’t a very good work horse. I was
thinking that she’s probably eventually going to need blinkers and that
would probably make her focus in more and make her a better filly, but
she’s just been running so good.
“She’s so laid back,” he said. “She’s a very classy filly. I would say her turn of foot is probably her best asset.”
the Black-Eyed Susan has always been in the mix for Joint Return, the
race became more of a focal point after Servis decided to bypass the
Kentucky Oaks (G1) on May 2.
she threw in that race at Gulfstream, obviously I was very disappointed
and that steered us away from the Oaks,” Servis said. “After the
bounce-back race at Calder, we just started to focus in on the
won his first Black-Eyed Susan in 2005 with Spun Sugar, and followed up
with Panty Raid in 2007 and In Lingerie in 2012. He returns this year
with multiple graded stakes winner Stopchargingmaria and Grade 3-placed
won the Tempted (G3) and Demoiselle (G2) at Aqueduct to close her
juvenile campaign last year, but has yet to recapture that form in 2014.
A well-beaten fifth in her 3-year-old debut, the Davona Dale (G2) at
Gulfstream Park, she was fourth in her most recent effort, the Fantasy
(G3) at Oaklawn on April 5.
think like a lot of horses, her running style didn’t suit the way
Gulfstream was playing at that time of the season,” Pletcher said. “We
shipped her to Oaklawn and she ran a little better, although I didn’t
think she ran to her full capabilities. Now, she seems to have moved
forward and has been training very enthusiastically, indicating to us
that she’s back in form. Hopefully, that turns out to be the case.”
at 2, Sloane Square debuted with a pair of victories this year by a
combined 11 ¾ lengths, stretching out each time. She won a Gulfstream
maiden going 5 ½ furlongs on Jan. 19 and romped over winners on Feb. 21
at Calder before finishing second as the favorite in the one-mile
Bourbonette Oaks (G3) on the Polytrack at Turfway Park last time out.
Square has run well in all three of her starts, and I thought she
fought hard in the race at Turfway,” Pletcher said. “She tries hard
every time. She has stepped up in class and distance each time, and has
run well. She’s a filly that’s always very businesslike and trains very
professionally, so we’re hoping she can step up to that next level.”
Black-Eyed Susan field, from the rail out: Joint Return (John Servis,
Kendrick Carmouche, 15-1), America (Bill Mott, John Velazquez, 8-1),
Shanon Nicole (Mike Maker, Mike Smith, 6-1), Stopchargingmaria (Todd
Pletcher, Javier Castellano, 7-2), Euphrosyne (Steve Asmussen, Ricardo
Santana, 4-1), Arethusa (Eoin Harty, Rosie Napravnik, 8-1), La Mejor
Fiesta (Wesley Ward, Jose Espinoza, 20-1), Sloane Square (Todd Pletcher,
Joel Rosario, 5-1), Fortune Pearl (Graham Motion, Trevor McCarthy,
12-1), Vero Amore (Butch Reid, Frankie Pennington, 15-1), and Image of
Anna (Rick Violette, Luis Saez, 20-1).