By Dennis Miller
The second big race of the year for 3-year-old fillies is the Black-Eyed Susan to be run Friday at Pimlico – the start of Preakness weekend.
But unlike the Preakness which drew its share of horses from the Kentucky Derby, the Black-Eyed Susan did not draw one horse from the Kentucky Oaks. Even though the race doesn’t carry the luster of the Oaks, there are still some talented runners, as well as some money to be made.
Weather may be a factor as there is thunder in the forecast. The weather figures to be the mid-to-high 80’s making for a humid environment.
Checking back to my Oaks preview, I went with eventual winner Abel Tasman, a horse that went off at 9-1. Here in the BES (set for 1-<1/8> miles), I am not going to get that much by the time the head for post with Shimmering Aspen.
Listed at 9-2 on the Morning Line, I am hoping, but not realistically going to get any more than what’s offered when wagering begins. The horse is 3-for-4 career and a perfect 2-for-2 this year. There are some flags here as the Rodney Jenkins runner has yet to run in a stakes race, so at least on paper this is a step-up in class.
Things I like that have soothed my concerns over the class hike: 1) The horse has improved in every start, including a 7-length win in her last start. She coasted home in that race, leading by 10 when they hit the top of the lane; 2) The morning works since that race have been strong and consistent; 3) There is no “wow” horse in the field; 4) There were other options for the connections on the card – the Miss Preakness Sprint for one – but Jenkins felt the added distance would allow her to relax with no concerns for the distance. Her 82 Beyer from the last start is as good as any in the field.
The ML favorite is Moana at a lukewarm 4-to-1. The Todd Pletcher-trainee has only two starts and is coming off a maiden special weight score in her last. She has shown the ability to rate in her two starts and there appears to be plenty of speed here.
That Moana is the favorite in the 11-horse field at 4-1, speaks volumes for the value plays.
There are three horses that have starting odds of 8-1 making them the third choice in the field. Tapa Tapa Tapa, Dancing Rags and Lights of Medina are the three and all offer different styles.
Tapa Tapa Tapa will be part of the speed, Lights of Medina figures to stalk the front-runners and Dancing Rags will be one the closers.
Others of interest include Full House, Summer Luck and Yorkiepoo Princess.
Full House has hit the board in all four starts this year for trainer James Jerkens and figures to be one of the horses stalking the early speed. Summer Luck is a closer and has been facing graded company all year for trainer Mark Casse. Yorkiepoo Princess has shown a versatile running style and has a win over Full House two back. Her last start was a bad one as she has trouble at the start, never recovered, and finished 8th by 35 lengths. Before then she had run off three straight wins and could be a factor if she breaks well.