The field is much softer here, in my opinion, with a handful of three-year-olds who've put together some strong performances, albeit greatly inconsistent. There's only one filly with a graded stakes victory (#3, Coach Rocks, 7-to-2), while a few others have won lower-echelon stakes.
The inclement weather throws a wrench into my prospects to play multi-race exotics involving the Black Eyed Susan, shouldn't favor one horse over another. Recent form will hold much larger sway, as I see it, and so I'll build my wagering budget solely around this race and one runner in particular.
Goodonehoney is my selection.
This girl's opponents have a lot more experience, but seem of lesser quality than the Kentucky Oaks, and Goodonehoney's last race was the most visually impressive. She won on debut on March 24 at three-quarters of a mile in nearby Laurel Park before transitioning on April 21 to a mile-and-a-sixteenth and jumping up vs. stakes company, where she won stylishly.
What I liked most in watching the replay was how Goodonehoney responded in the stretch and appeared to accelerate and can switch leads, before finishing the race in a relatively snappy time for the closing eighth of a mile. To me, it looked like she had lots left in the tank and will have no problems getting the added distance on Friday at a mile-and-an-eighth.
Let's take a look at each of the 10 runners in the field before breaking down my wagers.
Field for the 2018 Black Eyed Susan
- Tell Your Mama (20-1): She's 0-for-10 lifetime and looks one-paced. It's hard to endorse a maiden vs. stakes company, even when drawing a top jockey like Javier Castellano. Pass.
- Midnight Disguise (SCRATCHED): Disappointed she's out of the race, as several things turn me off here and I thought she'd take other people's money.
- Coach Rocks (7-2): The morning-line favorite, and only graded-stakes winner, got a decent trip in the Oaks, save for some bumping at the head of the stretch. She very well could inherit the lead and save lots of ground along the rail, but visually I didn't like what I saw two weeks ago and find no published works since then. Maybe 4th if not too tired.
- Red Ruby (5-1): Sorta short odds for a horse whose trainer is 0-for-28 in graded stakes. She seemed to struggle in the Grade 3 Honeybee at Oaklawn in March. Maybe two months off and a hustling rider help, but another one, to me, whose ceiling is 4th.
- Mihrab (30-1): Call me crazy, but this long-shot from trainer Graham Motion is a legit contender. I thought about making her my top selection, but she's one who prefers to close from out of the clouds. One that I'd definitely keep my eye on later in the season with more experience, though speed ability's a question. Projecting she'll run 2nd or 3rd.
- C.S. Incharge (15-1): I'll use her in my trifecta just to be safe but am concerned that she's a bit distance limited. If she's toward the lead early, maybe she hangs on late for minor awards, but her effort in the Ashland in April was a huge negative. Ceiling is 3rd or 4th.
- Goodonehoney (5-1): As the lone Maryland-bred, bettors may gravitate toward the hometown hero, but she's still a solid win proposition even if 7-2/4-1. I'm not familiar with the connections other than they're close to me near Monmouth Park, and sometimes think the local jockeys are at a disadvantage when the top national riders invade. Yet she completely dusted the 8 horse, Indy Union, by seven lengths a month ago and looks serious on video. Plus she's shown an ability to win on the lead or off the pace. Will win, finish second at worst.
- Indy Union (10-1): I considered her more seriously based on a few things on paper, but after watching the Weber City Miss hated how green she looked in her sixth lifetime start moving into the stretch. Second off a layoff may augur well, but I'm targeting 3rd or 4th at best.
- Sara Street (4-1): This one was my top selection in the Gazelle at Aqueduct on April 7 and lost that one by a half length and was gutsy. She'll be on the lead and carry the distance, but I just think Goodonehoney's a bit better, and if the pace is really hot she'll get passed by Mihrab and potentially others. Definitely useful in the 2nd, 3rd or 4th position in exotics.
- Stakes On a Plane (20-1): Also comes out of the Weber City but at one point got some eight lengths ahead of Indy Union and yet was passed by her at the finish. Local jockey Sheldon Russell will presumably let the outside speed clear, tuck in at the rail and hope to get a dream trip around Pimlico and that his horse likes thick mud kicked in her face. Pass.
Probably Wagers on $50 Bankroll
- $10 Win 7 = $10
- $5 Exacta Key Box: 7 with 5, 9 = $20
- $1 Trifecta: 7 with 5, 9 with 3-6, 8, 9 = $10
- $6 Black Eyed Susan-Preakness Daily Double: 7 with 7 = $6
- $2 Black Eyed Susan-Preakness Daily Double 5 with 7 = $2
- Using Justify as a strong single in the Preakness Stakes leg of the double.