Playing speed in Black-Eyed Susan

Profile Picture: James Scully

May 20th, 2016

Saturday’s Preakness (G1) is loaded with speed types but the same can’t be said for Friday’s Black-Eyed Susan (G2). The 1 1/8-mile race features a full field of 14 3yos fillies and the top two betting choices, Land Over Sea and Go Maggie Go, are confirmed closers. I’ll go a different direction with the front-running Kinsley Kisses.

A debut maiden in mid-January, Kinsley Kisses came back two months later to crush allowance foes at Tampa. She made her stakes debut in the about 7-furlong Beaumont (G2) at Keeneland on April 17 but ran into a buzzsaw that day in the unbeaten Lightstream. The third-place effort provided valuable seasoning and Kinsley Kisses will make her first route attempt at Pimlico.

Unlike other trainers, Todd Pletcher doesn’t like to run his Kentucky Derby horses back in the Preakness and is usually sitting on the sidelines for the main event (this year is an exception due to new shooter Stradivari). But Pletcher is typically well-represented in other Pimlico stakes, winning three graded events the day before the Preakness over the last two years.

Kinsley Kisses shows a recent half-mile bullet work on the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga and is bred to handle longer distances on the top side of her pedigree as a daughter of Congrats. She can use her speed to establish good positioning, either on the lead or closing tracking an expected moderate pace, and jockey John Velazquez is eligible to save plenty for the latter stages.

I’ll tab the up-and-coming filly for a minor upset.

Other stakes thoughts:

With the scratch of morning-line favorite Stanford and a good amount of speed signed on, Page McKenney could have rivals at his mercy in the latter stages of the Pimlico Special (G3). He appears formidable at short odds.

Pletcher appears well-represented in the Allaire DePont Distaff (G3) by Mei Ling, a serious threat to lead all the way in the 1 1/8-mile test, but I’ll include Super Majesty at a price in any horizontal or vertical wagers. She’s bred to route on both sides of the pedigree and is eligible to improve off the seasonal debut in a salty Madison (G1). I could see her parlaying a favorable up-close trip into a strong showing.

The Hilltop came up contentious, with Spinamiss and Wessex must-use fillies in any multi-race tickets, and I’m also intrigued by Koala Queen in the second start off the bench for Arnaud Delacour.

The Miss Preakness (G3) couldn’t be any more speed-laden and Banree is eligible to relish the cutback in trip (2-1-1-0 at 6-furlongs). She drew well outside the speed in post 8 and could parlay a stalk-and-pounce trip into a victory.

Good luck Friday!