Spot plays on Black-Eyed Susan card

Profile Picture: James Scully

May 18th, 2017

The $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2) headlines a 14-race card and trainer Todd Pletcher has a pair including morning line favorite Moana. I like his other entrant, #5 Lights of Medina (8-1 morning line), who should receive a proper set-up for her rally.

The chestnut daughter of Eskendereya posted a sharp maiden win at Laurel Park in late March, registering a 99 BRIS Late Pace Rating in the 5-length decision, and came back four weeks later to easily annex her stakes debut, the April 22 Weber City Miss, generating a 102 BRIS Speed Rating for the 2-length triumph. Lights of Medina should appreciate the added ground and the improving miss shows a half-mile bullet work at Belmont Park in preparation.

Here are a couple of other thoughts on the program:

Race 9. Miss Preakness (G3): Her 8-1 morning line price may be unrealistic but I’m hoping #11 Astrollinthepark doesn’t get bet down too much; she looks poised to give her 3-year-old rivals all they can handle on the front end. The Larry Jones-trained speedball has won three straight in stylish fashion, recording increasing BRIS Speed numbers in every start, and she likes running from an outside post.

Race 12: An overflow field of 16 fillies and mares (including two also-eligibles) has been entered for this entry-level turf allowance sprint and #13 Harlands Thunder (8-1) is eligible to fire her best shot off the six-month layoff. Previously trained by Bill Mott, she will make her 3-year-old bow for new trainer Ned Graham after placing in a trio of stakes including a pair on turf. Graham wins at a high percentage from a limited number of starters and there’s little concern about the barn switch. Hardest Core, who was stakes-placed for Kiaran McLaughlin, came back from a lengthy layoff to capture his first outing under Graham’s care before rising to fame with an Arlington Million (G1) victory and Harlands Thunder could be a nice one as well going forward. The dark bay possesses good tactical speed and should sit a favorable trip just off the speed before finishing well with Trevor McCarthy.

Good luck Friday!

Check out the Preakness Stakes News & Notes page and 2017 Preakness Stakes Betting Guide