He did not use a term like overlay or bargain or value. But trainer Brad Cox let no doubt that was what he thought when he saw Interstatedaydream go off at odds of 6-1 on Friday in the Grade 2, $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico.
“I was very shocked to see she was the price she was going into the gate,” Cox said from Kentucky, where he watched on TV as his Classic Empire filly upset 2-1 favorite Adare Manor to win the 1 1/8-mile feature for 3-year-old fillies. “She wasn’t getting a lot of respect, and I really thought she fit well with this group.”
Racing second to eventual 12th-place finisher Beguine (11-1) through the first three-quarter miles, Interstatedaydream made a decisive move at the top of the stretch and ran on to finish 1 1/4 lengths clear of runner-up and post-time favorite Adare Manor (2-1). The winning time of 1:48.73 on the fast main track came after early fractions of 23.34, 46.65, 1:10.46 and 1:35.53.
“When they break and put you in a good spot, it helps a lot,” winning jockey Florent Géroux said. “She was very nice and comfortable during the race, and she had something left down the lane.”
Here's a look at the full replay of Interstatedaydream (6-1) winning the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes! pic.twitter.com/H3JAmVNFSQ— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) May 20, 2022
It was the perfect stalk-and-pounce trip for Interstatedaydream, who came into the race off a distant, second-place finish to Nest in last month’s Ashland (G1) at Keeneland. In her only other stakes start, she finished second in last summer’s Adirondack (G2) at Saratoga. That she only had won in her debut and an allowance race might have contributed to her being the third choice Friday.
Cox said morning training at Churchill Downs stoked his confidence that something good might happen at Pimlico. And that she was – don’t say it – an overlay, a bargain, a value play.
“Her last two works have been phenomenal,” Cox said. “She showed up and ran a big race.”
The upset victory was nothing new for owner Staton Flurry, 31, who managed rental properties with his mother in his native Arkansas when he was bitten by the racehorse ownership bug. As a part owner, he also lived a 15-1 triumph in the COVID summer of 2020 when Shedaresthedevil pulled off an upset of that year’s female sprint champion Gamine in the Kentucky Oaks (G1).
“We knew she’s a talented filly,” Flurry told NBC Sports. “We had to wheel her back in three weeks to the Ashland, trying to pick up some Oaks points. It was just a little too quick back for her. We got six weeks in between races here. Once she crossed the finish line at the Ashland, Brad and I looked at each other and said, ‘Let’s point to the Black-Eyed Susan.’ That was our game plan, and here we are.”
That was more than Géroux had up his sleeves during the race after breaking from post 9 in the field of 13.
“There was no game plan,” he said. “I thought there would be a couple fillies, especially on the inside, who would have gone. I was really expecting Adare Manor to be a bit forwardly placed. But when Johnny (Velázquez) was content to sit right off me, I just took advantage of it.”
“We had good position throughout,” Velázquez said, “but I had to work hard for her to get there. There was a good pace. She was moving real good. I just couldn’t get to the winner.”
The victory was the first in the Black-Eyed Susan for Géroux and Cox. So, too, for Flurry, who bought Interstatedaydream for $175,000 on her third trip through the sales ring.
Adare Manor, who was trained by Bob Baffert before his suspension led to her being transferred to Sean McCarthy, finished second carrying top weight of 122 pounds. (Interstatedaydream was assigned 118.)
“Down the back side she just kind of dropped the bridle a little bit,” McCarthy said. “Johnny asked her, she responded, and coming around the turn there was a little bit of the same. He asked her again, and she responded. By that time I think the leader had a pretty good jump on us, so it was harder for our filly to run her down. Our filly didn’t stop, but the winner ran a great race. We just couldn’t catch up to her.”
Radio Days (15-1) came from near the back of the pack to finish another length back in third. Divine Huntress (28-1) was in fourth throughout the race and finished there.
Without specifying a next race, Cox made it clear there was a goal for Interstatedaydream.
“With some time and development and some more forward moves, she’s going to be a Grade 1 filly at some point, hopefully.”