Top NY-based Trainer Looking to Invade Maryland Again

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Though based in New York, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin has shipped in to win some of Maryland’s most prestigious stakes over the years, among them the 2006 Pimlico Special – the first of six straight Grade 1 wins and the North American debut for eventual Horse of the Year Invasor – and most recently the 2016 Barbara Fritchie (G2) with Dancing House.

McLaughlin will take aim at another of the state’s signature stakes with Godolphin’s Grade 2-placed homebred Sara Street in the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan Friday, May 18 at legendary Pimlico Race Course.

The 94th running of the 1 1/8-mile Black-Eyed Susan for 3-year-old fillies highlights a 14-race program that includes seven stakes, four graded, worth $1.15 million in purses on the eve of the 143rd Preakness Stakes (G1), the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.

Sara Street is among a list of 28 horses nominated to the Black-Eyed Susan led by Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner and 2017 champion 2-year-old filly Caledonia Road. It will be the third time in a stakes and second straight facing graded company for Sara Street, a daughter of 2007 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner and Preakness runner-up Street Sense.

First run in 1919 as the Pimlico Oaks, the Black-Eyed Susan has been won by horses such as Nellie Morse, the only filly to also win the Preakness, in 1924; along with champions Vagrancy, Twilight Tear, But Why Not, Wistful, Real Delight, Office Queen, Davona Dale, Serena’s Song, Silverbulletday and Royal Delta.

“We talked about the Kentucky Oaks but just thought that … the Black-Eyed Susan two weeks later might be a better spot. We’ve been pointing for that since her last race,” McLaughlin said. “It’s a very important race….nine furlongs on an important weekend, so we’re happy to be pointing that way.”

In her most recent start, Sara Street finished second in the 1 1/8-mile Gazelle (G2) April 7 at Aqueduct, a half-length behind My Miss Lilly, who went on to run in the May 4 Kentucky Oaks. Prior to that effort, Sara Street beat My Miss Lilly when second in the one-mile Busher Stakes March 3, also over Aqueduct’s main track.

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“We always thought she would like the distance, and she ran very well to be second,” McLaughlin said of the Gazelle. “She made her first start at Gulfstream [Dec. 10] and we decided to ship up to New York. We often do that getting started and then relocate. She won her next start and ran very well. From there we decided to run in the Busher because it looked like a good spot to get some black type, and she ran very well again.”

McLaughlin said regular rider Dylan Davis will have the mount on Sara Street for the Black-Eyed Susan.

Kasey K Racing Stable, Final Turn Racing Stables and Michael Day’s undefeated Goodonehoney earned an automatic berth into the Black-Eyed Susan by virtue of her seven-length romp in the Weber City Miss April 21 at Laurel Park. Trained by Laurel-based Jason Egan, she went unraced at 2 and won her only other start, a six-furlong maiden claiming event March 24.

Midnight Disguise, trained by Laurel’s 2017 winter-spring co-meet champion Linda Rice, won both the Busher and 1 1/8-mile Busanda Stakes at Aqueduct prior to a fourth-place finish in the Gazelle. Her sire is 2007 champion sprinter Midnight Lute.

Among other horses nominated to the Black-Eyed Susan are Honeybee (G3) winner Cosmic Burst; 2017 Tempted (G3) winner Daisy; Suncoast Stakes winner C.S. Incharge; Grade 1-placed Princess Warrior and Thirteen Squared; Smokinpaddylassie, winner of the one-mile Beyond the Wire March 17 at Laurel; Weber City Miss runner-up Indy Union; and four horses that ran in the Kentucky Oaks – Grade 2 winner Coach Rocks, Group 3 winner Rayya, Grade 1 placed Eskimo Kisses and Grade 2-placed Heavenhasmynikki.

Source:  Press Release

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 14-time qualifier to the National Handicapping Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 twice. He recently won a $24,000 package into Kentucky Derby Betting Championship I. A former executive with Brisnet.com, Rich is also a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program. He is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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