Will Luminance become the next notable Black-Eyed Susan graduate?
by Laura Pugh
Black-Eyed Susan Day is here, meaning it is only a mere day before the Preakness (the second jewel of the Triple Crown) is run.
Today, like Kentucky Oaks Day, features the fillies all day long, with their finale coming in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes. However, don’t think the fun will end there. The last graded stakes of the card comes in the form of Pimlico Special.
Both stakes admittedly lack the star power of the Preakness, but don’t let that fool you into thinking there isn’t a diamond in the rough, hidden in these two races.
Over the years the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes has served as a stepping stone for many good fillies, most recently the notable Royal Delta. The daughter of Empire Maker went on from the Black-Eyed Susan to win several Grade 1s in 2011, among them the Alabama and Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (now called the Breeders' Cup Distaff). Other notable fillies that have come from the Black-Eyed Susan to achieve greater success are Serena’s Song, Silverbulletday, and most recently Stopchargingmaria.
This year, trainer Bob Baffert brings the lightly raced, but very talented, Luminance. The daughter of Tale of the Cat has only once felt the sting of defeat, and that was at the hands of a monster performance by Stellar Wind. That foe will not be here today, potentially making Luminance’s task quite a bit easier.
In the absence of Stellar Wind, it doesn’t look as if Luminance will have much resistance from this group. The most consistent of her foes is Sweetgrass, daughter of the Kentucky Derby-winning Street Sense, and Devine Aida. The latter won four in a row, before finishing a distant fourth, in the Gulfstream Oaks, but only one of those wins was over a fast dirt track. Sweetgrass has won her last two starts, steadily moving from maiden, to allowance, to today’s stakes. If she can handle a class increase, she could very well be the one that threatens Luminance the most.
So, will history repeat itself? Will Luminance win impressively and springboard to more success later in the year? She has the potential to do so. Now it’s time to see if the potential will become real.