Black-Eyed Susan (G2) News & Notes

May 6th, 2021

Cox to Have Presence on Preakness Weekend

Black-Eyed Susan Bound Adventuring Tops Cox’s Pimlico Contingent

G3-Placed Lady Traveler Being Pointed to Black-Eyed Susan (G2)

Spritz to Work Sunday for Possible Black-Eyed Susan (G2) Run

Brad Cox Headshot

BALTIMORE, MD | May 6th, 2021 – Though he won’t have a starter in next Saturday’s 146th Preakness Stakes (G1), reigning Eclipse Award-winning trainer Brad Cox plans to run a handful of horses in other stakes over Preakness weekend at Pimlico Race Course.

Among them are Bourbonette Oaks winner Adventuring in the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2) for 3-year-old fillies on Preakness eve, May 14. The daughter of Pioneerof the Nile ran in three straight off-the-turf races to begin her career with a third, a second and a victory before taking the Bourbonette over Turfway’s Park’s all-weather surface.

“She’s training really well,” Cox said at Churchill Downs Thursday morning. “She had enough points to go in the Kentucky Oaks [G1], but we thought the Black-Eyed Susan made more sense. Plus she wasn’t nominated to the Kentucky Oaks, so we’d have had an extra-large fee to run. But I really like her. She’s out of a mare [Questing] who was a multiple Grade 1 winner at a mile and an eighth and a mile and a quarter, so I think the distance is something she’s going to handle. Huge, huge pedigree. She’s already a stakes-winner, but we need to hopefully get some graded wins.”

Cox said Dreamalildreamofu, winner of Turfway’s Latonia Stakes in her prior start, and Gedridofwhatailesu are both being pointed to the $150,000 Allaire du Pont (G3) for fillies and mares 3 and up going 1 1/8 miles May 14. Getridofwhatailesu won the Pippin at Oaklawn Park before taking third in the Azeri (G2) won by stablemate and 2020 Kentucky Oaks winner Shedaresthedevil, and finishing fourth in the Apple Blossom (G1) to front-running Letruska, with the Cox-trained two-time champion Monomoy Girl second.

“Dreamalildreamofu is coming off a synthetic race,” he said. “She’s performed well on three different surfaces – turf, dirt, synthetic – so we have options with her. Getridofwhailesu was fourth in the Apple Blossom last time and is Grade 2-placed. She’s a stakes winner and hopefully we can make her a graded-stakes winner. She’s going great, and probably is going to get a little class relief. No Letruskas or Monomoy Girls in this group.”

Fair Grounds allowance winner T D Dance is being pointed for the $100,000 James W. Murphy for 3-year-olds on grass and French Empire the $100,000 Runhappy Skipat for older fillies and mares at six furlongs. Both races are part of the blockbuster Preakness undercard. A $20,000 claim last fall at Churchill Downs, French Empire has won four straight for Cox, most recently an Oaklawn allowance race.

French Empire came to Cox’s stable a month ago after winning four straight races for Cipriano Contreras in the wake of being claimed for $20,000 last fall. She is entered in the Vagrancy (G3) Saturday at Belmont Park.

“She’s training really well,” Cox said. “She actually is entered in the Vagrancy this weekend, but we decided to scratch and point for the Skipat. T D Dance is doing well, and I’m looking forward to giving him an opportunity in a stakes. Two races back he didn’t perform quite as well as we were hoping. He was able to rebound and come back and win an allowance race.”

Cox won the top prize of $50,000 in the Maryland Jockey Club’s Preakness weekend trainer bonus two years ago, when he also finished third and fourth in the Preakness Stakes with Owendale and Warrior’s Charge, respectively. Cox finished in a tie with Steve Asmussen for second last year.

“I like it; it’s cool,” Cox said of the program. “We won it two years ago, and it was a very nice bonus. It wasn’t something we’d really pointed for. Then last year based off the morning line, I’d have said we had a big shot to win it. Last year we kind of pointed for it. This year, not as much, but it’s very nice. If you run a couple and they run well, you definitely start watching the leaderboard, I can tell you that.”

G3-Placed Lady Traveler Being Pointed to Black-Eyed Susan (G2)

West Point Thoroughbreds, John Ballantyne, William Freeman and Michael Valdes’ Grade 3-placed Lady Traveler, most recently fourth in the Beaumont (G3) April 2 at Keeneland, is expected to make her next start in the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2) for 3-year-old fillies Friday, May 14 at Pimlico Race Course.

A bay daughter of Grade 1 winner Quality Road, Lady Traveler is trained by Dale Romans who won the Black-Eyed Susan in back-to-back years with Keen Pauline (2015) and Go Maggie Go (2016) and most recently was second with Coach Rocks (2018). West Point was third with Tom Albertrani-trained Toasting in 2013.

“We’re set to enter Lady Traveler in the Black-Eyed Susan,” West Point CEO Tom Bellhouse. “We’ve had some fun in the Black-Eyed Susan in the past. We had Toasting that hit the board and then Coach Rocks ran great a couple years ago. I know Dale likes the race.”

Lady Traveler is a half-sister to two-time Grade 1-winning turf multi-millionaire Heart to Heart, out of the Silver Deputy mare Ask the Question. She broke her maiden and was second in the Rags to Riches last fall in Kentucky, and opened 2021 rallying for second in the seven-furlong Forward Gal (G3) Jan. 30 at Gulfstream Park.

Since then she has finished off the board in a 1 1/8-mile optional claiming allowance on turf March 10 at Gulfstream and the seven-furlong Beaumont, beaten less than five lengths at odds of 17-1.

“She’s a cool filly,” Bellhouse said. “She hasn’t been able to put it all together yet, but she’s got an amazing pedigree.”

West Point may have another Preakness weekend starter in Jaxon Traveler, a multiple stakes winner it owns with Marvin Delfiner and is trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen. Nominated to the $200,000 Chick Lang (G3) for 3-year-olds sprinting six furlongs, the Maryland-bred Jaxon Traveler broke his maiden on debut last fall at Pimlico and won the Maryland Juvenile Futurity in December at Laurel Park.

Jaxon Traveler suffered his only loss in five starts when he was beaten a head in the Gazebo March 20, a race where he needed to come from off the pace, before rebounding with a front-running triumph in the April 24 Bachelor. Both races were going six furlongs at Oaklawn Park.

“We’re waiting to hear if Steve wants to come back that quick in the Chick Lang. The race is perfect for him, but he hasn’t committed to us yet,” Bellhouse said. “I hope we run both of them. It would be a blast to come down next week and just have a great time.”

Spritz to Work Sunday for Possible Black-Eyed Susan (G2) Run

SF Racing’s Bourbonette runner-up Spritz is scheduled to breeze this weekend over the main track at Keeneland with the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2) in mind, trainer Rodolphe Brisset said.

“If she works OK on Sunday, Spritz will be running in the Black-Eyed Susan,” Brisset said. “She’ll have her last work Sunday depending on the weather. As of now, we’re looking at working her on Sunday, shipping her on Monday night and we’ll be there on Tuesday morning.”

Spritz, by Awesome Again out of the Holy Bull mare Holy Blitz, spent the winter racing over Turfway Park’s all-weather surface. It was where she broke her maiden going 1 1/16 miles Feb. 26 and followed up with a game effort in the one-mile Bourbonette, beaten two lengths by Adventuring, who is also being pointed to the 1 1/8-mile Black-Eyed Susan.

“She’s extremely well-bred. For her to finish second in a stakes was very good for her value as a broodmare,” Brisset said. “But, obviously, if we can be stakes placed or a stakes winner on the dirt, that would be even better.”

Other horses pointing to the Black-Eyed Susan are Army Wife, Beautiful Gift, Forever Boss, Iced Latte, Lady Traveler, Miss Leslie and Willful Woman.

Entries will be taken and post positions drawn for the Black-Eyed Susan Day program Sunday, May 9.

Brisset said plans call for Team Valor International’s Australian-bred Victory Kingdom to breeze Friday at Keeneland for a start in the $100,000 The Very One for fillies and mares 3 and up sprinting five furlongs on the grass Friday, May 14.