In the 89th running of Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico, it was Bob Baffert, and blinkers, and no more Beholder, as Fiftyshadesofhay got up to win by a neck.
Baffert put blinkers on the Pulpit filly for the first time, and she was not running against Beholder, to whom she had lost her last two races. Baffert explained why he made the equipment change, “With the addition of blinkers we wanted her to, and she could, settle better. Without blinkers we had to encourage her to stay in a race.”
It certainly didn’t hurt that, with the race on the east coast, America’s hottest jockey Joel Rosario got in the saddle. Baffert said, “I told Rosario to just ride your race, whatever you think. See how she breaks and keep her comfortable and just ride her Rosario style.” In 2013 Rosario style has come to mean another win in a big race.
Rosario described that race, “It was kind of a perfect trip, but she was kind of slowing a little bit from the dirt in her face. I got her on the outside and she looked like she was really comfortable. When I passed the sixteenth-pole, I could see that the horse in front of me was backing up a little. That’s when I felt better.”
Front-runner Maracuya set the pace for the first six furlongs in 1:13.26. Second place finisher, Marathon Lady, then had the lead by more than three lengths in the stretch, but Fiftyshadesofhay ran her down.
The 4-5 favorite Emollient finished off the board, and was never in contention, after her nine-length victory in the Ashland (G1) on the polytrack at Keeneland. Trainer Bill Mott felt, “It looked like to me like she might have been fighting that racetrack. The main track may not be her best surface, so you might see her try the turf course next time.”
Fiftyshadesofhay carried the familiar red and yellow colors of owner Mike Pegram to win the $500,000 grade two stake making the third win of her career. She covered the nine furlongs in 1:52.73 and paid $6.60 as the betting second choice.
Nine Black-Eyed Susan winners have gone on to be champion three year-old filly including Twilight Tear, Davona Dale, Royal Delta, Serena’s Song, and Silverbulletday.