The raid was on at cloudy Pimlico Friday. Panty Raid, under Edgar Prado, came from off the pace to win the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II) (VIDEO) with authority.
The 3-year-old daughter of Include , sat patiently while racing at the rail on a track that most of the day was favoring speed. She ran down the front runners in the stretch of the 1 1/8-mile event under steady right-handed urging to gain her first stakes win by one length over a game Winning Point.
A convivial crowd of 25, 167 braved the overcast skies on Black-Eyed Susan day at Pimlico, enjoying thirteen live races and sending nearly $10.7 million through the betting windows on what is Maryland’s third biggest day of racing each calendar year.
Panty Raid nearly became a stakes winner two races back when she was beaten a head in the March 24 Bourbonette (gr. III) at Turfway Park after breaking through the gate prior to the start. She returned April 13 at Keeneland to win an allowance race to set her up for the feature race the day before the Preakness (gr. I).
Baroness Thatcher, the 17-10 favorite in the eight-horse Black-Eyed Susan field, made the lead out of the gate and was followed by Enchanting Star, Grace Happens and Panty Raid as the group ran down the stretch the first time and through the first turn.
They ran the opening quarter in :24.05 and a half in :48.08 as Garrett Gomez kept Baroness Thatcher on the lead. Enchanting Star and Joe Rocco were dueling in second as Grace Happens took third and Panty Raid settled nicely in fourth. They went six furlongs in 1:11.90.
Baroness Thatcher still had a comfortable 1 1/2-length lead as the field cornered for home, with Enchanting Star coming under pressure in second, followed by Winning Point, under Luis Garcia, and Panty Raid.
As they straightened away down the stretch, Panty Raid was full of run and split horses. She won with something in reserve after taking control at the sixteenth pole as Winning Point jut got second, a neck better than Baroness Thatcher. The final time was 1:50.07.
"I started to get worried at the half-mile pole because she didn’t grab the bit," said Prado, a perennial champion at the Maryland tracks for many years before switching his tack to New York. "I was worried around the turn, as well, because I couldn’t get her going. But when I tapped her at the top of the stretch, she changed leads and I was happy again."
Bred in Kentucky by Heaven Tree Farm, Panty Raid is owned by the Greathouse family’s Glencrest Farm. Todd Pletcher trains her. Panty Raid has won three of her five lifetime starts and Friday's $150,000 winning purse increased her earnings to $242,275.
“I could see at the half-mile pole Edgar was asking her for a little more," Pletcher said. "It looks to me like she’s a filly that’s very steady. She keeps coming and that’s why I thought the mile and an eighth would suit her very well.”
Out of the Private Account mare Adventurous Di, the dark bay filly was purchased for $275,000 at the 2006 Keeneland April auction of 2-year-olds in training.
Panty Raid paid $5.80, $3.40, and $2.60, while Winning Point returned $4 and $2.80.
“She didn’t have the easiest of trips," noted Eddie Gaudet, trainer of the closing Winning Point. "She had to sit, sit, sit. Maybe if she got out a little earlier … but I’m still tickled. When she works, she finishes up big and knows when to go. We’ll definitely be seeing her in other stakes. I’m 76 years old, and I do what I love and love what I do. I feel like a 10-year-old today.”
Baroness Thatcher paid $2.60.
“A mile and an eighth is good as far as getting her to relax, but when they came to her too early, it was just too much,” said Gomez.
Moon Catcher was eight lengths away in fourth, followed by Fibbalator, Enchanting Star, Grace Happens and Fee Fi Fo Fum,