Black-Eyed Susan Card Kicks Off Preakness Weekend

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Ted Black

May 20th, 2017

At one time the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes card one day before the Preakness Stakes was something of an afterthought, but in recent years it has taken on a life of its own and Friday afternoon, despite several violent storms in the area that produced lightning, heavy rain and even hail, more than 50,000 fans were on hand for the stellar program.

In the Grade II, $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes for three-year-old fillies, Actress (Nik Juarez) overcame her 13-1 price and maiden status to weave through traffic and prevail by a neck in 1:51.87 for the nine furlongs. Several races earlier on the card, Shaman Ghost just lived up to his role as the 2-5 favorite in the Grade III, $300,000 Pimlico Special - race that once held Grade I status and was earlier immortalized by the match race between Seabiscuit and War Admiral - when he overhauled Dolphus for a neck victory in 1:54.55 for the Preakness Stakes distance of one-mile and three-sixteenths. Several races earlier on the card, favored Terra Promessa led throughout en route to a seven-length score in the $200,000 Allaire DuPont Stakes by covering the nine furlongs in 1:49.12.

Friday night at the Meadowlands in New Jersey the primary focus was on the opening round of New Jersey Sire Stakes events for three-year-old trotters of both genders and several of them made an early jump to the head of the class.

Long Tom (Tim Tetrick) lived up to his role as the 4-5 favorite in the NJSS event for sophomore colt trotters when he gained command early, yielded to Yes Mickey (Ake Svandstedt) before the half in 54.4, immediately launched a bid entering the far turn and surged to command by three-quarters in 1:24 then edged clear to a two-length score in 1:52.1. A Muscle Hill colt trained by Marcus Melander, Long Tom prevailed handily in his seasonal debut and now owns a 4-1-1 slate and $70,000 bankroll from eight lifetime outings.

Then one race later in a NJSS split for sophomore filly trotters, Arianna G (Yannick Gingras) served notice that she could be the best trotter of either gender this spring, summer and fall when she brushed to command before the half in 56, cruised by three-quarters in 1:25 then drew off to an eight-length score in 1:52.2 in her seasonal debut for trainer Jimmy Takter. Last year's champion two-year-old filly trotter, Arianna G now owns 10 wins and $754,000 banked from 12 lifetime outings.

While one Takter reigning champion debuted in fine fashion at the Meadowlands, another suffered a narrow defeat across the Hudson River. Pure Country, last year's champion three-year-old filly pacer after taking freshman honors the year before, set the early fractions as the 4-5 favorite in the $55,000 F-M Open at Yonkers Raceway, but was nailed late by the pocket-sitting Lispatty (Mark MacDonald) in 1:52.3.

Lispatty owns a 2-2-2 slate and $90,000 banked this year from 11 starts and now owns 12 wins and just over $300,000 earned in 50 lifetime outings. Pure County settled for second in her four-year-old debut after scratching sick out of the Chip Noble Memorial, but this Takter trainee still sports 20 wins and $1.8 million banked from 32 career outings and she already owns numerous stakes tallies and has a pair of Dan Patch Awards on her mantle already.