Trainer Todd Pletcher will seek both redemption and progression when he saddles both Disposablepleasure and In Lingerie in the 88th renewal of the Black-Eyed Susan (gr. II) at Pimlico Race Course May 18.
Seven other stakes help comprise the 13-race card including the return of the historic Pimlico Special (gr. III) after a three-year hiatus. The day of racing also features the $30,000 Pimlico Female Jockey Challenge, back for its second year, and the Lady Legends for the Cure Race III, a pari-mutuel event featuring eight retired female riders.
Disposablepleasure and In Lingerie are among several fillies in the Black-Eyed Susan field that were originally pointed toward the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), but opted for the Pimlico race instead.
Disposablepleasure had two wins and a second from four starts at 2, closing her juvenile campaign by overcoming a stumble at the break for a nose victory in the Demoiselle (gr. II) at Aqueduct, contested at the Black-Eyed Susan’s 1 1/8-mile distance.
This year, the gray or roan daughter of Giacomo was a distant fourth in the Davona Dale (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park in February, and was third behind Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can in the March 31 Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II), her most recent start.
Owned by Glencrest Farm, Disposablepleasure will be ridden by Javier Castellano and will break from post 2 in the Black-Eyed Susan. Out of the With Approval mare My Canada, Disposablepleasure was bred in Kentucky by Doug Branham.
“To be honest with you, we’ve been a little bit disappointed in both of her races this year,” said Pletcher. “She’s a filly that showed in the Demoiselle that she can compete at this level. She trained all winter like a filly that’s able to win these types of races, yet her fourth and her third were not up to the standards of her training.
“We felt a little bit better after the Kentucky Oaks that the Fair Grounds race was maybe a little bit stronger than it seemed at the time, but she continues to train like a filly that’s better than that. Hopefully, she’s rounding into form, and it’s just taking her a couple starts to get there.”
Making her seventh start on her seventh different track, Disposablepleasure is one of three graded stakes winners in the field and the only one with a win at nine furlongs.
“I think the mile-and-an-eighth will suit her well,” Pletcher said, “so, we’re optimistic that she’ll show up and run her ‘A’ race.”
In Lingerie came to Pletcher after she was purchased by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber following her maiden victory at Turfway Park in her career debut Jan. 12.
The daughter of Empire Maker ran second to Zo Impressive in an optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream Park Feb. 25 in her only try on dirt, then led gate to wire in winning the Bourbonette Oaks (gr. III) by six lengths at Turfway March 24.
“She ran a very credible race the first time we ran her,” Pletcher said. “She missed the break and got some dirt in her face for the first time, and finished up well to a really nice filly, so we were pleased with that.
“We went back to Turfway, and she won pretty convincingly there. We flirted with the idea of the Kentucky Oaks, but we felt like, with a filly that had only had three starts, that perhaps this was a better progression for her. She has trained very well.”
Bred in Kentucky by Colts Neck Stables, In Lingerie is out of the Storm Cat mare Cat Chat. She will break from post 7 under jockey John Velazquez.
Trainer Chad Brown is eager to see a similar kind of development from Welcome Guest, a gray or roan daughter of Unbridled’s Song who will make her fourth lifetime start in the Black-Eyed Susan.
Welcome Guest, like In Lingerie, did not race as a 2-year-old. She kicked off her career with a second-place effort in a six-furlong sprint contest at Gulfstream in February. She rated just off the lead before sprinting clear to a 5 1/2-length maiden victory four weeks later, then rallied three wide for second in the Comely (gr. III) at Aqueduct April 7.
“She was just a little immature and needed a little bit more time,” Brown said. “We gave it to her, and she’s rewarded us. She’s come back really nice as a 3-year-old.
“I thought her race in the Comely was good. She’s still lightly raced, but she’s developing nicely. The timing of this race was right, and it’s the Black-Eyed Susan. It’s a very nice, prestigious race, so we’re excited about bringing her over there and running in it.”
Brown feels Welcome Guest has the potential to be any kind of horse, though she didn’t give any outward indication until she ran.
“She was just average in the morning before we debuted her; not bad, but she wasn’t turning any heads, either,” Brown said. “After we debuted her for the first time, she came out of the race super and really got focused on being a racehorse. From there on, she’s developed nicely in her works and her races.
“I’m going to take it a race at a time for her. I could foresee her developing into a really nice filly through the summer and the rest of the year, from what I’ve seen. So far, she’s been a good one.”
The 7-to-5 morning line favorite for the Black-Eyed Susan is the unbeaten Discreet Cat filly Mamma Kimbo, trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert for John Fort’s Peachtree Stable.
Mamma Kimbo rolled to a 5 1/4-length victory in her debut on Feb. 18 at Santa Anita, and then went all the way on the lead to take the Fantasy (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park April 11. The Fantasy was her first race with Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith, who gets the return call.
The Rodney Jenkins-trained Plum has scored four wins in Maryland, including a victory over older horses at Pimlico in her most recent start April 26. She also captured the $75,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship at Laurel Park in December to cap her 2-year-old season.
Also entered are Wildcat's Smile, who beat boys in the $260,000 New York Breeders’ Futurity last fall and ran second to Disposablepleasure in the Demoiselle; and stakes winners Glinda the Good and Zucchini Flower and Oaks Lily, who has been training at Pimlico for nearly a week. Oaks Lily was an also-eligible for the Kentucky Oaks, but did not have enough graded earnings to make the field.
$300,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II, race 10, 4:46 p.m.), fillies, 3 years old, 1 1/8 miles (dirt)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey, Trainer
1. Glinda the Good (KY), C S Nakatani, 122, S M Asmussen
2. Disposablepleasure (KY), J Castellano, 122, T A Pletcher
3. Welcome Guest (KY), R A Dominguez, 116, C C Brown
4. Mamma Kimbo (KY), M E Smith, 122, B Baffert
5. Oaks Lily (KY), J R Leparoux, 116, T A Hills
6. Plum (MD), A Castellano, Jr., 116, R Jenkins
7. In Lingerie (KY) , J R Velazquez ,122, T A Pletcher
8. Wildcat's Smile (NY), R Napravnik, 116, D G Galluscio
9. Zucchini Flower (KY), S Russell, 122, H G Motion