Black-Eyed Susan (G2) Undercard Stakes Draw 217 Nominees

Six Stakes, Three Graded, Complement Main Event May 20
Multiple G1 Winner Shaman Ghost Nominated to $300,000 Pimlico Special (G3)
Maryland-Bred Legend Ben’s Cat Aiming for Jim McKay Repeat
BALTIMORE – A total of 217 horses were nominated to six stakes, three graded, that help comprise the undercard of the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2) Day program Friday, May 19 at historic Pimlico Race Course.
In addition to a spectacular day of championship racing offering seven stakes, four graded, worth $1.15 million, the afternoon also features the return of the Ultimate Girls Day Out, an entire afternoon dedicated to the spirit and strength of women.
Stronach Stable’s Shaman Ghost, a 5-year-old bay son of Hall of Famer Ghostzapper, heads a list of 31 older horses nominated to the $300,000 Pimlico Special (G3) run at 1 3/16 miles, the same distance as the Preakness Stakes (G1) for 3-year-olds May 20.
Trained by Jimmy Jerkens, Shaman Ghost owns seven wins and nearly $3.6 million in purse earnings from 15 career starts, including victories in the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) March 11, 2016 Woodward (G1) and Brooklyn (G2) and the 2015 Queen’s Plate, Canada’s equivalent of the Kentucky Derby. In January, Shaman Ghost was second to Arrogate in the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park.
Pimlico-based claimer-turned-millionaire Page McKenney is also nominated. Trained by Mary Eppler for Adam Staple and Jalin Stable, the 7-year-old gelding was second in the 2015 Pimlico Special but scratched the morning of last year’s race and subsequently went unraced until late January. This year he won the Native Dancer at Laurel and the Lyman Stakes for Pennsylvania-breds April 29 at Parx last time out.
New York-based trainer Linda Rice is coming off her first-ever meet title in Maryland, sharing Laurel’s recently concluded winter-spring championship with Kieron Magee. She nominated a pair of 4-year-olds in Matt King Coal, winner of Laurel’s Harrison E. Johnson Memorial March 18, and Seymordini, an impressive 13 ½-length allowance winner May 6 at Laurel.
“Both [Matt King Coal] and Seymourdini I bought as 2-year-olds in Ocala,” Rice said. “They showed promise as 2-year-olds, both of them did, and we’ve had a few starts and stops along the way. Now they’re both 4-year-olds, they both have quite a bit of ability, and hopefully we’re going to have a great season with them.”
Other nominees include Noble Bird and Idolo Porteno, who ran 1-2 in last year’s Pimlico Special, separated by 11 ¼ lengths; Grade 2 winners Conquest Enforcer, Imperative, International Star, Madefromlucky, Red Rifle, Stanford and Tom’s Ready; Grade 3 winners Eagle, Send It In and Watershed; and multiple stakes winner Fellowship, eighth in last year’s Preakness.
First run in 1937, the historic Pimlico Special has played host to such superstars as Whirlaway, Citation, Cigar and Invasor and served as the setting for the 1938 match race won by Seabiscuit over 1937 Triple Crown champion War Admiral.
The Adena Springs Miss Preakness (G3) for 3-year-old fillies going six furlongs draw 47 nominations, among them Pretty City Dancer, dead-heat winner of the 2016 Spinaway (G1) at Saratoga; four-time stakes winner R Angel Katelyn; multiple stakes-winner Yorkiepoo Princess; Grade 2 winner Too Much Tip; Grade 2-placed Jamyson ‘n Ginger; Littlefirefighter, a winner of her last two starts at Laurel for Linda Rice; and Black-Eyed Susan nominee Shimmering Aspen, who has captured her past three races by 16 ¼ combined lengths.
Multiple Grade 3 winners Terra Promessa and Unbridled Mo are among 26 horses nominated to the $150,000 Allaire DuPont Distaff (G3) for fillies and mares 3 and older going 1 1/8 miles. They are joined by graded stakes winners Carrumba, Curlin’s Approval, Eskenformoney; Mo’ Green; High Ridge Road, who captured the Barbara Fritchie (G2) at Laurel Feb. 18; and two-time local stakes winner Winter.
Maryland-bred multi-millionaire Ben’s Cat is nominated to make the second start of his 11-year-old season in the $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint. Bred, owned and trained by Hall of Fame horseman King Leatherbury, Ben’s Cat has won the five-furlong dash for 3-year-olds and up five of the last six years, including four straight.
Ben’s Cat has won 32 of 60 lifetime starts with 26 stakes victories, three in Grade 3 company, and more than $2.6 million in purse earnings. The four-time Maryland-bred Horse of the Year has gone winless six consecutive starts, the longest losing streak of his career.
Also among the 35 nominees are Undrafted, winner of the 2015 Diamond Jubilee (G1) at Royal Ascot; Grade 2 winner Holding Gold; 2016 Maryland Million Nursery runner-up Dancing With Maude; Grandiflora, third in the Laurel Dash and Maryland Million Turf last year; stakes winners Partly Mocha, Pay Any Price, Pool Winner, Rainbow Heir, Richard’s Boy, Sonny Inspired and Take Cover.
Leading the way among undercard nominations with 51 was the $100,000 Hilltop for 3-year-old fillies, shortened from 1 1/16 miles to one mile on the turf for 2017. The $100,000 Skipat for females 3 and up at six furlongs on the main track attracted 27 nominees.