Multiple-graded stakes winner Bshapsonata will look to continue her outstanding sophomore season May 17 in the $200,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II) at Pimlico Race Course, as she takes on eight 3-year-old fillies.
The Black-Eyed Susan is run on the main track at 1 1/8 miles. It is race 12 on the program, the last of three graded stakes on the afternoon.
A Florida homebred of John Sykes’ Cloverleaf Farms II, Bsharpsonata enters the Black-Eyed Susan off a fifth-place finish in the May 2 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) on the slop at Churchill Downs. Although off the board, it was a very respectable effort for the daughter of Pulpit, who set the pace, led coming out of the final turn, but eventually tired to finish six lengths back of eventual winner Proud Spell. It was Bshapsonata’s first try at nine furlongs.
Prior to the Oaks, the bay filly had been phenomenal. She ended her 2-year-old year with a victory at Laurel in the Selima Stakes, then reeled off the three consecutive scores to start her 2008 campaign. Those victories included the Jan. 1 Tropical Park Oaks at Calder Race Course, Feb. 9 Forward Gal (gr. II) and March 2 Davona Dale (gr. II) – both at Gulfstream Park. The Davona Dale was followed by a runner-up effort in the April 5 Ashland (gr. I), where she lost by only a neck to Little Belle, who was second in the Oaks.
Bsharpsonata is trained by John and Tim Salzman, a successful father-son tandem based out of Maryland. The elder Salzman owned and conditioned champion filly Xtra Heat, who holds the record for most stakes wins (25) for a North American-based female.
"In the Oaks, she broke from the 10 hole, so you have to get up and get over," Tim Salzman said. "She did it easy and without much speed, we just inherited the lead. In the Ashland, Little Belle got the lead on that poly surface and we let her get away with such easy fractions and I think that got us beat. In the Oaks, Proud Spell was just a better horse."
Out of the Affirmed mare Apasionata Sonata, Bsharpsonata is 6-1-0 from 11 starts. She has earned $490,410. Regular rider Eric Camacho gets the mount on the 9-5 morning line favorite.
"She bounces back quick," Camacho said. "Eats the bottom out of the bucket and tears off on all fours. She's loving it and itching to go."
Sherine, Maren’s Meadow and Shes All Eltish are the other graded stakes winners in the field. Zayat Stables’ Sherine is coming off a two-length victory in the April 12 Comely Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct. The Precise End filly has won three of her last four – all at Aqueduct – including the Dec. 2 restricted East View Stakes when she went gate-to-wire in the 1 1/16-mile event. Alan Garcia rides for trainer Tony Dutrow.
Also with early speed is River Ridge Ranch’s Maren’s Meadow, who led nearly the entire way in her 1 ¼-length Bourbonette Oaks (gr. III) score March 22 on the Turfway Park Polytrack. The Larry Jones trainee is 3-2-1 from eight starts. Bred in Canada by Josham Farms Limited, Maren’s Meadow is a daughter of Meadowlake--Gold Liaka, by Yukon. This will be her first try over one mile.
Denholtz Stables’ Shes All Eltish was fourth in her most recent outing, the April 26 Calder Oaks, where she tired late in the nine-furlong turf contest. That was the Eltish filly’s only time off the board in eight career starts. Prior to the Calder Oaks, she romped to a 6 ¾-length win in the March 29 Bonnie Miss Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream.
Bred in Florida by Live Oak Stud, this will be She All Eltish’s first race outside of the Sunshine State. Martin Wolfson trains the late-blooming bay filly, who didn’t break her maiden until January. She is currently the 5-2 second choice.
"Her turf-back-to-dirt races are really strong," Wolfson said. "That will help her. Plus, the distance doesn't concern me like it would if I were some of those fellows in there. I'm not so sure 1 1/8 is right for that filly (Bsharpsonata)."
Also to consider is California invader Seattle Smooth. The daughter of Quiet American is coming off a six-length triumph in the Bay Meadows Oaks, where she came from off the pace in the 1 1/16-mile event. It was her first try on traditional dirt after five races on California synthetics. Edgar Prado will ride for the first time.
$200,000 Black-Eyed Susan (gr. II, Race 12, 5:45 p.m.), 3-Year-Old Fillies, 1 1/8 Miles
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Sweet Vendetta (NY), 122, Channing Hill
2. Maren's Meadow (ON), 122, Gabriel Saez
3. Sherine (NY), 122, Alan Garcia
4. Highest Class (KY), 116, Robby Albarado
5. Bsharpsonata (FL), 122, Eric Camacho
6. Seattle Smooth (KY), 122, Edgar S. Prado
7. One Step Ahead (FL), 116, Pablo Morales
8. Shes All Eltish (FL), 122, Garrett K. Gomez
9. Pious Ashley (KY), 116, Kent J. Desormeaux