Trainer Todd Pletcher sent out favorites that were defeated in consecutive stakes at Pimlico Friday, but he did not make it three in a row as Spun Sugar easily won the $200,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II).
After Maddalena lost the Miss Preakness (gr. III) and champion Ashado was upset in the Pimlico Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. III), Spun Sugar got the job done by 3 3/4 lengths in the Black-Eyed Susan at odds of 6-5.
By Awesome Again
out of the Irish Open mare Irish Cherry, Spun Sugar is a homebred of Frank Stronach, whose Magna Entertainment owns Pimlico. She made it three-for-four lifetime with the victory in the nine furlong race, her stakes debut.
Spun Sugar raced just once at 2, finishing second at Saratoga last July. She broke her maiden in her first start this year, Feb. 16 at Gulfstream Park. On April 16, she cleared her first allowance condition at Keeneland. Clearly possessing the ability to try stakes company, Pletcher found the Black-Eyed Susan in a year in which the 3-year-old filly event did not come up very tough.
The $120,000 winner's purse increased her earnings to $181,971.
Merrill Gold made the lead in the Black-Eyed Susan, run over a very sloppy track but jockey Edgar Prado's left rein broke and the pacesetter drifted out on the first turn. She was tracked by R Lady Joy and Pleasant Chimes through a quarter in :23.99, a half run in :48.28, and six furlongs in 1:14.08.
"I was concerned with what was taking place on the first turn," said Pletcher, whose filly was taken wide. "I didn't know what was happening to Edgar's horse, but my filly looked like she got through it okay, and it was fortunate the way it all worked out."
Under John Velazquez, Spun Sugar took the lead in the turn for home, turned back a challenge from R Lady Joy and Cornelio Velasquez in upper stretch and was in complete control down the lane. She ran the distance in 1:53.27.
"I didn't know why Prado's horse was getting out on the first turn," Velazquez said. "I couldn't see him, but I got up to him on the second turn so I could get by if she did it again. When my filly moved by she was pretty game to draw away."
"I had a tough trip," Velasquez said of the runner-up. "I got bumped several times. We could have won this thing."
Spun Sugar returned $4.40, $3, and $2.80 while R Lady Joy paid $4.60 and $3.40. Pleasant Chimes, Eibar Coa aboard, returned $3.80 to show.
Runway Model, the 5-2 second choice, was a non-threatening fourth, with Private Gift and Merrill Gold trailing.
"She had a rough trip and she just tried to keep getting out," said Gary Stevens, who rode Runway Model. "There wasn't much I could do on the turn but do my best to keep her going straight."