December 5, 2021

Bonny South among several live runners for Cox on Preakness undercard

Bonny South
Bonny South wins the 53rd running of the Fair Grounds Oaks (Hodges Photography/Lou Hodges Jr.)
  • Races on dirt during the Preakness Day undercard can be found below.
    • Black-Eyed Susan S.
    • Miss Preakness S.
    • De Francis Memorial Dash
    • Skipat S.

Black-Eyed Susan Stakes

Trainer Brad Cox pulled off an upset in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) in early September with Shedaresthedevil, but has the filly everyone will be looking to beat when Bonny South takes to the track at Pimlico on Saturday in the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) over 1 1/8 miles.

Not without her own Kentucky Oaks credentials this season after winning the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) in March and running second to Swiss Skydiver in the Alabama (G1), Bonny South was instead pointed to this fixture after that latter run at Saratoga in mid-August.

“Since the Alabama she’s done really, really well,” Cox said. “She’s maturing. She’s still somewhat lightly raced, only run six times in her life. I think we have yet to see the best of her. Hopefully, she’ll take a step forward.”

Only two fillies in the Black-Eyed Susan field contested the Kentucky Oaks on Sept. 4. Monmouth Oaks (G3) heroine Hopeful Growth finished a distant sixth and should appreciate the drop in class, while Dream Marie trailed the field of nine as a 56-1 outsider.

The relative class and current form of others make them longshots to upend Bonny South. Perfect Alibi, who captured the Spinaway (G1) last year, has not progressed much this season. She adds blinkers for this, while Mizzen Beau enters off a dominant score in the restricted Bison City S. at Woodbine after running second to Shedaresthedevil in a Churchill allowance earlier in the summer.

Miss Preakness Stakes

Three-year-old fillies will also be in action Saturday in the $150,000 Miss Preakness Stakes (G3), a 6-furlong dash won in track-record time last year by the Cox-trained champion Covfefe. The speed of the speed looks like Audubon Oaks winner Mundaye Call, another Cox charge who wilted late at even-money in the Eight Belles (G2) last time after setting the pace.

Fly On Angel and Grade 1 winner Wicked Whisper ran one-two in the Charles Town Oaks (G3) last time, while Ain’t No Elmers returns to stakes company following an allowance score at Churchill during Derby week.

Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash

Cox also has a prime contender for the $200,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G3) in the Grade 2-placed Landeskog, who won returning from a layoff of more than 10 months in an Aug. 8 allowance at Ellis Park in his first start for the barn.

The field for the 6-furlong race also includes Stan the Man, second to Firenze Fire in the True North (G2) before taking the Tale of the Cat S. at Saratoga last time, and Admiral Lynch, an impressive third-level allowance scorer at the Spa last time for Mike Maker.

Skipat Stakes

Chalon is back to defend her title in the $100,000 Skipat Stakes, a 6-furlong sprint for fillies and mares, but Never Enough Time will attempt to make it two in a row against that rival after proving one-length best in the Alma North S. at Laurel most recently. Liza Star, Bye Bye J, and Bronx Beauty will also merit consideration.