Black-Eyed Susan Day Notes; Shimmering Aspen Possible for Black-Eyed Susan (G2) After Thursday Breeze

Shimmering Aspen Possible for Black-Eyed Susan (G2) After Thursday Breeze
Watershed Works Thursday in Saratoga for Xpressbet Pimlico Special (G3)
Undulated Fires Bullet Thursday for $100,000 James W. Murphy
 BALTIMORE – Hillwood Stables’ 3-year-old filly Shimmering Aspen breezed six furlongs Thursday morning at historic Pimlico Race Course for a likely start in the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2) Friday, May 19.
Jockey Steve ‘Cowboy’ Hamilton was aboard for the work, which went in 1:15 over a fast main track. Laurel Park-based trainer Rodney Jenkins said Shimmering Aspen, an impressive winner of her last three starts, galloped out seven furlongs in 1:27 and a mile in 1:43.
Jenkins and Hillwood’s Ellen Charles, whose mother bred and raced horses in Maryland and father was a steward at Maryland tracks for many years, were at Pimlico to watch the work.
“It was actually a great work. She didn’t break the watch,” Jenkins said. “I was real happy. She had never been out of Laurel. What we did today was try to get her used to everything without ringing her bell. She handled everything so far wonderfully. I was real pleased.”
Shimmering Aspen, a gray or roan daughter of Malibu Moon, is nominated to both the 1 1/8-mile Black-Eyed Susan and the $150,000 Adena Springs Miss Preakness (G3), contested at six furlongs on the same day.
Third in her career debut last August, Shimmering Aspen has reeled off three straight victories by 16 ¼ lengths combined. She has never run further than seven furlongs, her most recent start April 29, where she led all the way in a seven-length romp under a hand ride from Hamilton.
“We like her. We hope she’s as good as we think she is,” Jenkins said. “We’ll go over it, Mrs. Charles and me, and we’ll decide where to go in the next day or so.”
Among the horses expected to run in the Black-Eyed Susan are a pair from Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Todd Pletcher, maiden winner Moana and Lights of Medina, who earned an automatic berth with her victory in the Weber City Miss April 22; Grade 2-placed Summer Luck and Torrent, most recently fourth in the Fantasy (G3) April 14.
Watershed Works Thursday in Saratoga for Xpressbet Pimlico Special (G3)
Godolphin Racing’s Watershed, winner of the Ben Ali (G3) last time out, worked a half-mile Thursday morning at the Greentree Training Center in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. in advance of the $300,000 Xpressbet Pimlico Special (G3) May 19.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin was on hand to supervise the breeze, which went in 48.40 seconds over the all-weather surface. It was the 5-year-old son of Bernardini’s second work since returning from spending the winter in South Florida.
“He trains all the time at Greentree when he’s up here,” McLaughlin said. “He worked very well today, so we’re happy with him.”
McLaughlin said jockey Paco Lopez, aboard for the past two starts including the Ben Ali, will have the mount in the Pimlico Special. The 1 ½-mile Brooklyn (G2) at Belmont Park June 10 was also under consideration for Watershed.
“We just were a little worried about jumping to a mile and a half,” McLaughlin said. “The Brooklyn was the first race that came to mind after he won at Keeneland and when you look at it a little closer, the timing of this race is great and the distance is a little better, so we decided to run in the Pimlico Special.”
McLaughlin won the Pimlico Special, run at the same 1 3/16 miles as the Preakness Stakes (G1), in 2006 with Argentina-bred Invasor in his North American debut. He would go on to be named Horse of the Year and in 2013 was elected to the Racing Hall of Fame.
“We have fond memories of the race,” McLaughlin said. “It’s a little scary to think it’s been that long.”
Also working Thursday for McLaughlin was True Timber, clocked in 48.89 seconds for a half-mile, fifth-fastest of 33 horses over Belmont Park’s training track. True Timber, most recently fourth behind Irish War Cry in the Wood Memorial (G2) April 8, is being considered for the $100,000 LARC Sir Barton May 20.
Other McLaughlin horses being pointed to Preakness weekend stakes are Classy Class for the $150,000 Maryland Sprint (G3), Always a Suspect for the $200,000 Chic Lang and possibly Adonis Creed for the $100,000 James W. Murphy on turf, all May 20.
Undulated Fires Bullet Thursday for $100,000 James W. Murphy
M M G Stables’ stakes winner Undulated tuned up for a planned start in the one-mile James Murphy with a bullet five-furlong work in 1:01.40 Thursday at Laurel Park, the fastest of 13 horses.
Maryland’s leading rider, Trevor McCarthy, was aboard for the breeze.
“He worked good here this morning so, fingers crossed, he’s sitting on a good race,” trainer Cal Lynch said. “He went five-eighths in company, sat three or four lengths behind and made a nice move and finished up really well. We’re hoping he’ll run well.”
Undulated, by Hall of Famer Curlin, will be making his second start of the year in the Murphy, having finished third in a six-furlong allowance at Belmont Park April 30 in his first start in four months. He won two of four starts at 2, including the Swynford Stakes over Woodbine’s all-weather surface in November.
Lynch said he is also planning to run multiple stakes winners Never Gone South in the Maryland Sprint and Winter in the $150,000 Allaire DuPont (G3) May 19.