Black-Eyed Susan S. (G2) — Race 13 (5:44 p.m. ET)
The form of the Santa Anita Oaks (G2) received an unexpected boost in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) on May 6 when the longshot-winning Desert Dawn finished third in the Churchill Downs fixture at odds of 50-1. Adare Manor, who was beaten a neck by Desert Dawn at Santa Anita, is among 13 three-year-old fillies that will line up in Friday’s $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan S. (G2), the highlight of the 14-race Preakness eve program at Pimlico.
Although that upset loss nixed Adare Manor’s own Kentucky Oaks ambitions, she figures among the betting favorites in the 1 1/8-mile Black-Eyed Susan. Adare Manor was a dominating winner of two earlier starts this season, including the one-mile Las Virgenes (G3) at Santa Anita in early February by 13 lengths.
One candidate with tremendous upside is the Chad Brown-trained Distinctlypossible. Although exiting her first career win in a maiden at Keeneland, the daughter of Hall of Famer Curlin and Grade 2 winner Funny Proposition finished a clear second to Juju’s Map in the Alcibiades (G1) last fall in only her second career start.
“She’s a lightly-raced horse that we got a little bit of a late start with this year,” Brown said. “She was a little sick over the winter and I was really trying to get her on the Oaks trail and she just ran out of time. She’s a really talented horse, and I’m looking forward to bringing her.”
Favor enters off a solid third-place effort behind champion Echo Zulu in the March 26 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) for Todd Pletcher, while Beguine was beaten a neck by Yuugiri in the Fantasy (G3) at Oaklawn last out. Interstatedaydream, who’s won two of four, was a distant third to Nest in the Ashland (G1) last time and was only beaten a nose for second.
Other notables are the locally-based Luna Belle, who enters on a five-stakes win streak at Laurel, and the Shug McGaughey-trained Radio Days, a Gun Runner half-sister to multiple Grade 1 winner Bowies Hero who was runner-up in the Forward Gal (G3) and Beaumont (G3) around one turn earlier this season.
Miss Preakness S. (G3) — Race 10 (4:07 p.m. ET)
Under the Stars and Happy Soul will revert to the one-turn conditions at which they excel in the $150,000 Miss Preakness S. (G3), a six-furlong dash for three-year-old fillies.
Under the Stars captured the seven-furlong Santa Ynez (G2) in early January, but was beaten a half-length in the Santa Ysabel (G3) and then was a distant fourth after a stumbling start in the Santa Anita Oaks, both over 1 1/16 miles. Happy Soul, meanwhile, was a cruising winner of her first two stakes appearances, the Astoria S. at Belmont and the Dixie Belle S. at Oaklawn, but trailed a field of six in her first two-turn test in last month’s Ashland.
“We were trying to stretch her out, but she’s primarily a sprinter,” trainer Wesley Ward said of Happy Soul. “We tried her in the Ashland with the filly [Nest] that was the runner-up and favorite in the Kentucky Oaks. She just hit the far turn and she said, ‘This isn’t my game.’ So we gave her a little time. She started tearing the barn down, we gave her a work or two, and she’s ready to go.”
Also lining up are Lady Scarlet, who won the Cicada S. at Aqueduct in March but was most recently a retreating fourth in the Beaumont (G3) at Keeneland, and Saucy Lady T, who placed in all three graded dirt stakes for juvenile fillies at Saratoga last summer and makes her first start since October.
Also on Friday, trainer Todd Pletcher will send out a pair of four-year-olds with further upside in the $300,000 Pimlico Special (G3), a 1 3/16-mile test for older horses.
Vindictive, who finished third behind Miles D and Speaker’s Corner in last fall’s Discovery S. at Aqueduct, enters off an allowance win over that track in late March, while Untreated, also a multiple allowance winner, was beaten a head by Forewarned in the Excelsior S. at the Big A when last seen.
Running two turns for only the second time in his career is First Captain, the 2021 Dwyer (G3) winner who threw in an unexpected dud in the Carter H. (G1) last month. Another who might benefit from more ground is the late-developing Mohaafeth, a son of Tapit who rallied for second in the seven-furlong Frank Y. Whiteley S. at Laurel on April 16.
A field of six will line up in the $150,000 Allaire duPont Distaff (G3), a nine-furlong test for fillies and mares. Among them are Exotic West, recent winner of the Top Flight Invitational at Aqueduct, and Super Quick, who finished less than two lengths behind one-two finishers Malathaat and Bonny South in the Doubledogdare (G3) at Keeneland.