Hanson: Spot Plays for Black-Eyed Susan Day
BALTIMORE -- As expected, weather conditions in Baltimore are unchanged and unlikely to be in the next 36 hours or so as rain continues to pelt the area, Pimlico in particular. A sloppy main track and a soggy turf are givens for Friday's Black-Eyed Susan card, with three races (2, 6, and 8) already having been moved to the main track. Here are horses of interest in some of the bigger prizes Friday.
Race 5 -- $100,000 Skipat
Ms Locust Point is the favorite to resume a winning streak after a slow break compromised her chances in the Madison (G1), but course-and-track winner VERTICAL OAK (#8, 9-2) seemingly has the speed to keep up with her and has the advantage of breaking outside her. She's a slop freak, too, that is until her comeback at Oaklawn in the Carousel last month. Think she'll be stronger for that rust-shaking effort for a barn that likes to win Preakness weekend.
Race 7 -- $150,000 Miss Preakness (G3)
ALMOND ROCA's (#8, 5-1) stakes debut on this circuit last fall didn't go well as she was hung wide from post 11 in the Smart Halo at Laurel. Still ran well to be fifth to Take Charge Paula, and rebounded by winning a pair of sprint stakes at Tampa. Trainer Graham Motion, who also likes to point for this weekend, shortens her up and returns her to the main track following an ok sixth in the Florida Oaks (G3), where she was a bit out of her element. Solid wet pedigree.
Race 9 -- $300,000 Pimlico Special (G3)
SOMETHING AWESOME (#8, 5-1) couldn't be doing any better since joining the Jose Corrales barn last fall. He's won four of five (two of them in the slop) and lone setback was by a diminishing margin going six furlongs. We'll see if the hard-fought win in the Charles Town Classic (G2) last month took a lot out of him, but looks capable enough and with some pace in front of him.