BALTIMORE,MD 05-14-10 – Jay Em Ess Stable’s Acting Happy made huge strides forward at Pimlico Friday, capturing her stakes debut in the $175,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, the centerpiece of a 13-race program dedicated to raising awareness and finding a cure for breast cancer.
Pimlico Race Course management pledged to raise a minimum of $100,000 for Komen for the Cure, the world’s largest breast cancer organization. Fifty percent of the funds raised will go to the Komen Maryland Affiliate to use for community outreach programs in the state and the other half will be used for life-saving breast cancer research.
In addition to the 86th running of the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, the program included an historic pari-mutuel race showcasing legendary retired female riders, as well as the second annual $50,000 Pimlico Jockey Challenge, in which eight of the nation’s top jockeys competed in four races.
The Black-Eyed Susan program festivities were attended by 27,609, an increase of nearly 4,000 from a year ago, while generating a handle of $13,238,977, an increase of 10 percent over figures from 2009.
“What a beautiful day,” Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas said. “The partnership with Susan G. Komen For the Cure, the Jockey Challenge and Lady Legends Race generated a high level of interest and excitement.”
Acting Happy, who was making only her fourth lifetime start for trainer Richard Dutrow, broke alertly under jockey Jose Lezcano to prompt the pace set by Khancord Kid into the stretch, where she drew away to win by 1 ½ lengths. The daughter of Empire Maker paid $22.20 while running 1 1/8 miles in 1:50. No Such Wood closed to finish second, 2 ¼ lengths ahead of Tidal Pool, the 2-1 favorite.
The traditional Preakness Eve feature was marred by an accident on the turn leaving the backstretch, where Diva Delite clipped heels with C C’s Pal and unseated jockey Julien Leparoux while falling to the track. Seeking the Title subsequently unseated jockey Kent Desormeaux while trying to avoid the fallen jockey.
Desormeaux, a former Maryland sensation and Hall of Fame jockey, escaped injury, while Leparoux received medical attention on the track before he was taken to nearby Sinai Hospital for further examination. Leparoux’ friend, Fanny Salmon, a television producer working for HRTV, spoke with him after he returned to the jockey quarters, took possession of his belongings and was driving to the hospital.
“He broke a tooth and he’s experiencing some chest pains,” she said. “He has a bruise and they want to take X-rays to know exactly what is wrong with him.”
Leparoux, the 2009 Eclipse Award-winning jockey, is scheduled to ride Pleasant Prince in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes. Desormeaux has the mount aboard Paddy O’Prado, the third-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby.
Both Seeking The Title and Diva Delite appeared to escape injury other than a few scrapes.
Earlier on the program, Gwen Jocson, 43, rode Honor in Peace to victory by 2 ¾ lengths in the Legends for the Cure competition that was filmed for the climactic ending of “JOCK,” an upcoming feature-length documentary focusing on the first generation of female riders.
Javier Castellano, who finished second behind Kent Desormeaux in the inaugural Pimlico Jockey Challenge, turned the tables on the Hall of Fame jockey, by a 24-22 margin in the four-race points system.
Black-Eyed Susan Stakes Quotes
Richard Dutrow (winning trainer, Acting Happy) – “Just because this track has been favoring speed today, I said, `Jockey, let’s give her a little incentive early on. I don’t want you to send her, but let’s just put her in the game.’ And she stayed there. As long as she stays sound, that’s exactly what’s going to keep happening with her. She’s going to put herself right in the game and she’s going to stay there. She’ll run all day long.
“The reason why I picked this spot is the longer the distance the better for her. And she’s two-turns also. I didn’t want to mess around with any one-turns with her. I’ve always liked this horse. As you can see, I ran her a mile and eighth her first start. She’s probably the best filly I’ve ever had. I just can’t wait to see more of her.
“I’m going to target the Alabama. I don’t care if I don’t run her back until then. I’m not saying that’s what we’ll do, but we will target that race and we’ll just kind of float and glide along as we go.
Jose Lezcano (winning jockey, Acting Happy) – “I rode the filly one time for them and I think she didn’t like to get dirt in her face. I looked at the races all day and I saw that they were running near the front. I let her go comfortably near the front. She gave me a good kick before the wire. I always liked this filly. The last three-sixteenths I felt comfortable and I thought she’d kick out. She had something left.”
Cindy Jones (trainer, No Such Word, 2nd) – “It got a little tight on the turn. You can’t give up that kind of ground and try to run them down.”
Terry Thompson (jockey, No Such Word, 2nd) – “I was real happy with the way she rushed up. I kind of got shuffled out around the turn and I lost a little bit there. But she came on and ran a great race.
D. Wayne Lukas (trainer, Tidal Pool, 3rd) – “I thought we ran a good race. It might be a little further than she wants, but she did run a good race.”
Calvin Borel (jockey, Tidal Pool, 3rd) – “No excuses. She broke clean and ran good. She tried hard and gave it her all to the end.”
Dallas Stewart (trainer, Seeking the Title): “She looks OK. She wasn’t limping or anything.”
Kent Desormeaux (jockey, Seeking the Title): “I’m fine. I just feel bad for the team that came all this way to win the Black-Eyed Susan. I didn’t even have the opportunity to release the lines on my horse to see if I had any horse. I escaped from injury, but I fear for Julien. I don’t think he’s going to be so lucky, because he’s in a lot of pain right now.’
Ian Wilkes (trainer, Diva Delite): “I know my filly went down. I don’t know whether she clipped heels or what. She looked fine. She had a couple of little nicks, but we’ll see. She’s covered in dirt. She went completely down.
Julien Leparoux (jockey, Diva Delite): “I’m all right, but I don’t want to talk right now.”