BALTIMORE, 05-20-11---Royal Delta got the jump on the competition with a decisive move in the second turn and rolled to a 2½ -length victory in the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes Friday at Pimlico Race Course. The Empire Maker filly trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49 3/5 over a fast track to earn the winner’s share of $150,000 in the Grade 2 stake for 3-year-old fillies. Buster’s Ready was second, 5 ¼ lengths ahead of Hot Summer.
The 87th Black-Eyed Susan was the featured race of the 13 on The People’s Pink Party program that benefited the Susan G. Komen for the Cure held on a sun-drenched afternoon at historic Pimlico. The on-track crowd of 27,966 watched the $30,000 Pimlico Female Jockey Challenge won by Canadian standout Emma-Jayne Wilson, and the $20,000 Legends for the Cure II Race in which eight retired female riders returned to the saddle.
The Black-Eyed Susan program festivities generated a handle of $10,664,681.
“What a wonderful start to a fantastic weekend,” said Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas. “Our partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure has brought added excitement to the afternoon. Having Emma-Jayne Wilson donate her winnings from the Female Jockey Challenge was a first-class thing to do and we are proud of Mary Wiley-Wagner for winning the Lady Legends race.”
The festivities included a presentation on the cupola to the Maryland affiliate of Komen and performances in the Turfside Terrace section by Steel Magnolia and The Lunabelles.
Maryland’s premier racing weekend continues Saturday with the Preakness Day program of a dozen races surrounding the 136th running of the Preakness Stakes. Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom is the 2-1 morning line favorite in the full field of 14 entered in the Preakness, which has a post time of 6:20 p.m. First post for the Preakness Day program is 10:45 a.m.
Royal Delta, bred and owned by Palides Investments N.V. Inc, won for the third time in four career starts and pushed her career earnings over $182, 400.
Under jockey Jose Lezcano, Royal Delta settled into a patient stalking trip off the pace set by Hot Summer during opening fractions of :23 1/5, :46 1/5 and 1:10 1/5. When Lezcano asked her to run, the filly accelerated quickly, moving from 4 lengths back to a three-length lead at the top of the stretch. Buster’s Ready made a determined run in the stretch, but could not catch the 9-5 favorite.
Royal Delta paid $5.60, $3.80 and $2.60 and keyed a $34.20 exacta with Buster’s Ready, who was 7-1 in the wagering.
Black-Eyed Susan Stakes Quotes
Bill Mott (winning trainer, Royal Delta) – “We thought she was a nice filly early on, but soon realized she was a little better than we thought. She just keeps improving. Her second race was a little bit of a dud in Tampa. But she’s becoming a li8ttle more professional. She just keeps coming and coming. We’re going to look at the Mother Goose (June 25 at Belmont Park) next up in New York.”
Jose Lezcano (winning jockey, Royal Delta) – “Today we got pace. She broke good and relaxed. With the pace up front, when I asked her, she gave me the run I needed to go. I was surprised at the pace, and knew we had a good shot. We had plenty.”
Todd Pletcher (trainer, Buster’s Ready, 2nd) –”I thought our filly ran very well. She was second-best on the day, but tried hard. It was a good effort. We were optimistic that the mile and an eighth would suit her and I think it did. She’s a very steady, grinding-type filly and she kept trying right to the end. That other filly got a little bit of a jump on her at the top of the stretch.”
John Velazquez (jockey, Buster’s Ready, 2nd) – “There’s not much to say about this race. The other jockey just had the better horse today.”
David Fawkes (trainer, Hot Summer, 3rd) – “She didn’t run that bad. There was just no pace in the race, nobody for her to sit behind. Ramon knew it was fast, but it’s not his fault. There was nothing he could do. It was just the way the race set up. That can happen in a small field like this.”
Ramon Dominguez (jockey, Hot Summer, 3rd) – “She was the speed of the race. She went out a little quicker than I wanted to, but that’s racing. The last eighth of a mile, she got a little tired and we couldn’t hold them off.”
Joel Rosario (jockey, Love Theway Youare, 4th) – “They were going too quick up front for us. She left herself way too much to do. That’s the first time on this track, maybe that wasn’t good for her. Through the lane, she just flattened out.”
Julien Leparoux (jockey, Wyomia, 5th) – “We broke very good. She put me in a good spot today. I was holding the reins easy. She just didn’t fire today.”