Black-Eyed Susan Day stakes picks

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Kingsbarns, winner of the Grade 3 Bena Ali last time out at Keeneland, takes aim at Friday’s Grade 3 Pimlico Special, co-feature with the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico Race Course. Keeneland Photo.

The Triple Crown season makes its annual swing through Maryland this weekend for Saturday’s 149th Preakness Stakes and a stakes-heavy card kicks things into gear Friday.

The Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan and Grade 3 Pimlico Special take center stage at Pimlico Race Course, with first post set for 11:30 a.m. ET. That’s an hour later than Saturday.

The handicappers are back after some spotty results at Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby programs.

John Shapazian and Charles Bedard lead the group with five wins apiece. Joe Clancy, Sean Clancy and Alec DiConza are tied for third with four each, with Tom Law and Rob Whitlock next at three apiece. Jessica Paquette (two) and Paul Halloran (one) complete the group.

Here are the picks for the Black-Eyed Susan Day stakes. Good luck.

Allaire du Pont Distaff Stakes. $100,000, fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, 1 1/8 miles. 3:05 p.m. ET.

Graded stakes winners Shotgun Hottie and Julia Shining top field of eight for lead-off event to the weekend’s stakes program. Shotgun Hottie exits a fourth in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom behind Adare Manor while Julie Shining finished third in two-turn allowance-optional at Keeneland that also featured du Pont entrant Musical Mischief.

John Shapazian: Julia Shining, Musical Mischief, Shotgun Hottie.
Rob Whitlock: Musical Mischief, Lacie Be Good, Shotgun Hottie.
Tom Law: Shotgun Hottie, Julie Shining, Intrepid Dream.
Jessica Paquette: Musical Mischief, Julia Shining, Western Lane.
Alec DiConza: Shotgun Hottie, Musical Mischief, Julia Shining.
Sean Clancy: Intrepid Dream, Shotgun Hottie, Musical Mischief.
Paul Halloran: Musical Mischief, Julia Shining, Intrepid Dream.
Charles Bedard: Julia Shining, Shotgun Hottie, Lacie Be Good.
Joe: Shotgun Hottie, Intrepid Dream, Julia Shining.

Hilltop Stakes. $100,000, fillies, 3-year-olds, 1 mile, turf. Post time 3:36 p.m.

She Feels Pretty ran a too-good-to-lose third in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and makes her 2024 debut here against nine others. Daughter of Karakontie could be in for a big season if she can run back to that race and her victory in the Grade 1 Natalma two starts back for trainer Cherie DeVaux. The main opposition comes from the inside in Royal Wintour, Waves Of Mischief and Expatriate.

John: She Feels Pretty, Expatriate, Waves Of Mischief.
Rob: She Feels Pretty, Royal Wintour, Expatriate.
Tom: She Feels Pretty, Royal Wintour, Expatriate.
Jessica: She Feels Pretty, Waves Of Mischief, Royal Wintour.
Alec: Royal Wintour, She Feels Pretty, Expatriate.
Sean: She Feels Pretty, Royal Wintour, Expatriate.
Paul: Royal Wintour, She Feels Pretty, Just Better.
Charles: Just Better, She Feels Pretty, Royal Wintour.
Joe: Royal Wintour, Just Better, She Feels Pretty.

Miss Preakness Stakes (G3). $150,000, fillies, 3-year-olds, 6 furlongs. Post time 4:07 p.m.

Big field of 12 entered looking for some graded stakes success. Youalmosthadme already has a couple placings, including a distant third last time out in the Grade 2 Beaumont at Keeneland, while Mystic Lake, Launch, Carmelina, Miss Harriett, Closing Act, Cap Classique and Let Them Watch are stakes winners.

John: Youalmosthadme, Mystic Lake, Launch.
Rob: Youalmosthadme, Mystic Lake, Launch.
Tom: Closing Act, Launch, Youalmosthadme.
Jessica: Youalmosthadme, Launch, Carmelina.
Alec: Launch, Youalmosthadme, Carmelina.
Sean: Launch, Youalmosthadme, Cap Classique. 
Paul: Youalmosthadme, Launch, Discreet Ops.
Charles: Lady Moscato, Youalmosthadme, Carmelina.
Joe: Youalmosthadme, Value Area, Closing Act.

The Very One Stakes. $100,000, fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, 5 furlongs, turf. Post time 4:38 p.m.

Friends of team “The The” are pumped as always for turf sprint and 2024 proves no exception. Big field entered and Graham Motion, fresh from his ballyhooed guest column in the Baltimore Sun, sends out Queen Of The Mud from the rail and on a two-race win streak. Daughter of Kodiac hasn’t run since last October. Another major player, Kaufymaker, also hasn’t been out since October. She finished ninth in the Grade 2 Woodford that day – against males.

John: Kaufymaker, Future Is Now, Queen Of The Mud.
Rob: Port Townsend, Kaufymaker, Queen Of The Mud.
Tom: Kaufymaker, Future Is Now, High Class.
Jessica: All That Magic, Queen Of The Mud, Hollywood Walk.
Alec: Kaufymaker, All That Magic, Port Townsend.
Sean: Queen Of The Mud, Bosserati, Future Is Now.
Paul: All That Magic, Kaufymaker, Future Is Now.
Charles: Queen Of The Mud, Future Is Now, All That Magic.
Joe: Kaufymaker, Future Is Now, Port Townsend.

Pimlico Special Stakes (G3). $250,000, 3-year-olds and up, 1 3/16 miles. Post time 5:10 p.m.

Two favorites who figure to be “blinking lights” in Kingsbarns, winner of the Grade 3 Ben Ali last time out; and Red Route One, winner of the Grade 2 New Orleans Classic two starts back. Don’t sleep on some of the others, including two-time Claiming Crown Iron Horse winner Time For Trouble and Pyrenees, the winner of three straight for Cherie DeVaux.

John: Kingsbarns, Red Route One, Royal Ship.
Rob: Kingsbarns, Red Route One, Pyrenees.
Tom: Time For Trouble, Red Route One, Kingsbarns.
Jessica: Red Route One, Royal Ship, Kingsbarns.
Alec: Red Route One, Kingsbarns, Pyrenees.
Sean: Kingsbarns, Red Route One, Pyrenees.
Paul: Kingsbarns, Pyrenees, Red Route One.
Charles: Red Route One, Time For Trouble, Kingsbarns.
Joe: Royal Ship, Pyrenees, Kingsbarns.

George E. Mitchell Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2). $300,000, fillies, 3-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles. Post time 5:44 p.m.

Call Another Play carries the flag for Maryland against the likes of Corposo, Recharge, Gun Song and Lemon Muffin. Trained at Fair Hill by Mike Trombetta, Call Another Play rides three-race win streak including 3 1/2-length score in the Weber City Miss last time out. Corposo, third in the Grade 2 Santa Anita Oaks; and Recharge, winner of the Sunland Park Oaks two back and fifth in the Grade 2 Fantasy behind Thorpedo Anna, deserving favorites from outside posts.

John: Gun Song, Whocouldaskformo, Call Another Play.
Rob: Recharge, Corposo, Gun Song.
Tom: Recharge, Call Another Play, Gun Song.
Jessica: Call Another Play, Recharge, Gun Song.
Alec: Gun Song, Recharge, Corposo.
Sean: Call Another Play, Recharge, Corposo.
Paul: Gun Song, Recharge, Corposo.
Charles: Whocouldaskformo, Recharge, Call Another Play.
Joe: Corposo, Recharge, Gun Song.