Weekend Watch: Black-Eyed Susan day previews and plays

Weekend Watch: Black-Eyed Susan day previews and plays
Photo: Elsa Lorieul/NYRA

Each weekend, Horse Racing Nation previews the top races to tune into coast to coast and runs down the main contenders. This edition features stakes on Pimlico Race Course's Black-Eyed Susan day card. All times are Eastern.

Friday's Stakes

Pimlico, Race 7: 2:39 p.m.

Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) runner-up Chalon kicks off her season in the six-furlong Skipat Stakes, for fillies and mares 3-years old and upward. The 5-year old mare has been installed as the 6-5 favorite despite the six month layoff. She raced at five different tracks last year and compiled a 5: 2-3-0 record, including that near miss in the championship race. In terms of class, Chalon is the top of the field, but since she may need to knock the rust off, take a good look at Anna’s Bandit and Maybe Wicked. The former is in perfect form for the year, while the latter is coming in off a five month layoff but really appreciates the Skipat distance.

Pimlico, Race 8: 3:13 p.m.

For 3-year old fillies sprinting, the Grade 3 Miss Preakness Stakes attracted a full field of 12 topped by tepid favorite Covfefe. Trained by Brad Cox, the Into Mischief filly kicked off her year with a win at Keeneland and seems to really relish the 6/6 ½-furlong distance. This is far from a cakewalk for her, though. Please Flatter Me nearly took them all the way in the Busher to stay undefeated in her 2019 debut but was just caught, finishing fourth beaten only a length for it all. Graded stakes-placed Congrats Gal begins her season here, while undefeated Never Enough Time and Fighting Mad, who is trained by Bob Baffert, will try to keep their records in tact. Miss Imperial ran second in her last two starts, both stakes races at Aqueduct. The winner of the race, if approved by Adena Springs, will also receive a no guarantee breeding season to Shaman Ghost. In terms of betting, this is a good race to go deep.

Pimlico, Race 9: 3:43 p.m.

Chad Brown will saddle the two favorites in the one-mile Hilltop Stakes for 3-year old turf fillies. Nova Sol is the narrow favorite in her U.S. and 2019 debut. The Soldier Hollow filly is Group 3-placed in France. Stablemate Dogtag is the second choice and enters off a fourth-place finish in the Miss Grillo (G2). Like with Nova Sol, this will be her 2019 debut. For the price, I like Primela. She had a hard race in the Appalachian (G2) and is dropping in class. Fashion Faux Pas looked good in her turf debut last out, and Makeme Dream looks like a logical play, too.

Pimlico, Race 10: 4:14 p.m.

Good luck handicapping the Grade 3 Pimlico Special, carded at 1 ¼-miles for 3-year olds and upward. I honestly just want to throw darts. Only one runner in this field has ever even hit the board at this distance, and that is 30-1 longshot Bobby G in a starter handicap. So I’ve landed on You’re to Blame as my top choice. He’s a graded winner going 1 ½-miles and looked sharp in his 2019 debut last month. I also like War Story in here, though I think he’s better going 12 furlongs than 10. Tenfold hit the board last year in the Preakness, making him a must-use for me here. From a class standpoint, I would include Flameaway and Rally Cry.

Pimlico, Race 11: 4:48 p.m.

She may not be the favorite on the morning line, but Always Shopping is my top choice in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes. The Todd Pletcher trained filly is a perfect 2-for-2 on the year, with both wins coming at the Black-Eyed Susan distance of 1 1/8-miles. Cookie Dough has the better numbers but will be leaving Gulfstream Park and stretching out to nine panels for the first time. She is looking sharp having posted a sizzling five-furlong work on April 22, and then Stanley Gold sent her out for a stamina-building mile breeze on May 5. Point of Honor is the morning line favorite despite checking in behind Cookie Dough in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2). Dam Zayanna is a half-sister to Mr Freeze, a graded winner at nine panels, and Capitano, graded stakes placed at 1 1/16 miles. As long as she stays around her morning line odds, I would play her, but I just cannot talk myself into playing her if she dips below 2-1. Along with the typical accolades, the winning filly, if approved by Adena Springs, will also receive a no guarantee breeding season to Point of Entry.

Pimlico, Race 12: 5:25 p.m.

The two favorites in the Jim McKay Turf Sprint Stakes, Bound for Nowhere and Pure Sensation, will both scratch. Owner/trainer Wes Ward did not like how fast Bound for Nowhere worked last time, and trainer Christophe Clement is looking for a firm surface for Pure Sensation. That places Tricks to Doo as my top selection. Completed Pass just missed by a neck in his turf debut in the King Leatherbury Stakes and looks to have a legitimate chance with the two favorites out of the race. If I had to select another in here, American Sailor is the longshot I would choose. The 7-year old gelding is fairly adept at the distance and was not beaten by much in the King Leatherbury despite finishing seventh.

Pimlico, Race 13: 5:57 p.m.

Golden Award
, a half-sister to I’ll Have Another, tops the Grade 3 DuPont Distaff for fillies and mares 3-years old and upward going 1 1/8 miles. Todd Pletcher’s Another Broad already has a win at this distance, picking up that particular victory in her last start. Mylady Curlin is in good form right now while My Miss Lilly has looked simply OK in both starts this year. The winner here will also receive a breeding season to Dortmund.

Potential Plays

This is an excellent betting card, and depending on how you want to bet, you should probably allot yourself a bit of a budget.

The $300,000 guaranteed $0.50 Pick 5 encompasses races 7-11, or the Skipat Stakes through the Black-Eyed Susan. This is a tough sequence for a budget play, but we will give it a shot.

For a smaller budget, play: 3/ 2, 5, 7, 11/ 2, 5/ 8, 13/ 4, 6, 8 = $24

For a larger budget, play: 3/ 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11/ 2, 5/ 1, 2, 8, 11, 13/ 4, 6, 8 = $90

For full coverage on the sequence, play: 3, 6, 7/ 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11/ 1, 2, 3, 5, 6/ 1, 2, 8, 11, 13/ 4, 6, 8 = $675

Now I personally do not have $675 to play with, but if you have that kind of money and want a much higher chance at a hit, go for it.

The Pick 3 encompassing races 10-12 could be a fun play, and anyone can afford these.

For a budget play, try: 8, 13/ 4, 6, 8/ 1, 2, 9 = $9

It will not pay a whole lot if it hits, but it will be some return on little investment.

Otherwise play: 1, 2, 8, 11, 13/ 4, 6, 8/ 1, 2, 9 = $22.50

Meet Ashley Tamulonis

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, which led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.

Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation covering racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues and, from time to time, offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry. A move North to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the From Coast to Coast blog for HRN. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.

An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband, Chris, and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.

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