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BLACK-EYED SUSAN PREVIEW

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Earlier this week, seven three-year-old fillies drew into the field for Friday's Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico.  An early scratch to Art of the Hunt leaves this field with just six contenders and a much different pace situation. Below is a look at the field for Friday's Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (post time 4:46 Eastern; TV - Versus).

PP Horse Jockey Trainer ML
1 Royal Delta J. Lezcano W. Mott 3/1
2 Hot Summer R. Dominguez D. Fawkes 5/2
3 Coax Liberty G. Gomez J. Lawrence SCR
4 Wyomia J. Leparoux C. Garrison 9/5
5 Buster's Ready J. Velazquez T. Pletcher 8/1
6 Love Theway Youare J. Rosario M. Cho 12/1
-- Art of the Hunt -- -- SCR


1-Royal Delta (3/1):
This filly looked like a future stakes winner when she easily dominated an N1X group at Keeneland back on April 15th. (Check out the replay of that race, if you get the chance; the move Royal Delta makes on the far turn is ultra-impressive.) That race was on the Poly but she's already proven on dirt as she broke her maiden in her debut at Belmont last October with a thunderous 12 length win at a mile.  She's a patient filly that has the ability to sit back in the early stages and she's appears to be training fantastically over the past three weeks.  She's facing a lot better in this spot but if she improves off that Keeneland effort, something that seems possible, she could grab the top prize.  The problem for Royal Delta, and the other fillies in this race, is that Hot Summer might be loose on the lead, something that will make her very hard to run down in the stretch.

2-Hot Summer (5/2): This Malibu Moon filly has done little wrong in her five lifetime starts, which includes a nice win in the Grade 3 Comely last time out at the Big A. She likes to run very near the lead in the early stages and this race doesn't appear to have any fillies that want to run in that manner.  If she gets things all her own way, something that seems very likely, she's going to be awfully tough.

3-Coax Liberty (8/1): She's faced some nice company over the course of her career but she's yet to really show that she's a top-level performer.  Her two non-maiden victories came against N1X and listed stakes company, and both were sprint races.  This will be Coax Liberty's first try at two-turns, but it's hard to read her past performances and come up with a strong belief that she really wants to go further. (SCRATCH)

4-Wyomia (9/5): The morning line favorite comes into this race off a nice 2nd to 49/1 winner Lilacs and Lace in the Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland on April 9th.  It would be hard get away from a nice, solid filly like Wyomia if we could be certain of a honest pace, but instead we are left to wonder if can she run down Hot Summer if that filly gets loose early.  That's the key question in this race.

5-Buster's Ready (8/1): Won an N1X race at Aqueduct in the mud last time out but has yet to test out the graded stakes waters.  It's hard to toss a Pletcher/Velazquez combo in a graded stakes race, but Buster's Ready seems to be a bit over her head in this spot. 

6-Love Theway You are (12/1): A stone-cold closer that is going to be running in a small field with what will probably be a frontrunner all alone on the lead in the early stages.  That's not a combination that spells success for this filly.  Additionally, she's just two races removed from her maiden breaking win and is facing the toughest class test of her career.  Tough task ahead.

The Pick

The scratch of Art of the Hunt took a bit out of this race since it eliminated the only speed filly other than Hot Summer.  Despite that, I still think Royal Delta is the best filly in the race and I think she's ready to put forth a big effort in this spot.  While the lack of speed to challenge Hot Summer greatly changes the race dynamics, I'll side with Royal Delta for the win against this short field.