Actress launched an eye-catching move on the far turn and gamely outfinished Lights of Medina to record a 12-1 upset in Friday’s $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2) at Pimlico. Runner-up in two previous starts for Jason Servis, the 3-year-old Tapit filly stretched out to two turns and overcame being checked in upper stretch to break her maiden on the sloppy track. Nik Juarez was up.
A head separated the top two finishers, who both rallied from off the pace after Tapa Tapa Tapa sped forward at the start and established splits in :23.12, :46.38 and 1:11.56 on a clear early lead. Shimmering Aspen, the slight 3-1 favorite, was among a trio of runners stalking just behind the pacesetter along with 7-2 second choice Moana and Full House.
Actress, who was bred in Kentucky by owners Gary and Mary West, dropped back to ninth during the early stages and launched her rally along the rail upon reaching the far turn, accelerating quickly into contention. Lights of Medina, the 5-1 fourth choice, raced one spot better than Actress on the backstretch and took the overland route on the final bend.
Turning for home, Actress was forced to steady as she tried to split rivals but the hole closed. She quickly regained her momentum, shifting course around foes. Shimmering Aspen advanced to seize a short advantage in upper stretch but started to give way by the eighth pole as it became a two-horse affair in the final furlong.
Lights of Medina was charging fast on the far outside but Actress kept finding more in deep stretch, prevailing in the final strides.
“They were running fast up front and I was sitting behind,” Juarez said. “She ate the dirt up. When she made her move, she really started running and carried it on.”
“I really wasn’t concerned (about an off track),” Servis added. “With her pedigree she should run on anything.”
Corporate Queen, who closed from last as a 26-1 outsider, wound up two lengths behind the runner-up in third. It was another 1 ½ lengths to the late-running Torrent in fourth at 21-1.
Moana checked in fifth and was followed by Tapa Tapa Tapa, Shimmering Aspen, Summer Luck, Dancing Rags, Yokiepoo Princess and Full House.
Actress is the first foal from the Milwaukee Brew mare Milwaukee Appeal, Canada’s champion 3-year-old filly in 2009. Actress didn’t make her career debut until March 19, rallying for second in a 6-furlong Gulfstream Park maiden special weight event, and she filled the same position when trying restricted stakes foes in the 7-furlong Game Face at Gulfstream on April 22.
“I always like this filly, I told them she’s a good filly from Day 1,” Servis said. “I’ve got to hand it to the Wests. They were on board the whole time and a lot of owners wouldn’t be. But they’ve been great. They’re good for business. They deserve it, they love the game. It’s not just the money; they’ve got a passion for it. It’s all good stuff.”