Pletcher pair are prime contenders in Black-Eyed Susan

The Grade II, $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes is the feature on Friday’s loaded 14-race card at historic Pimlico Racecourse. The 1 1/8-mile dirt event pits 11 three-year-old fillies against each other, many of whom seek their first graded score. The traditional Preakness eve fixture, the Black-Eyed Susan is headlined by 2017 Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Todd Pletcher’s pair of entrants; #5 LIGHTS OF MEDINA and #7 MOANA. Post time for the Black-Eyed Susan, the 11th of the day at Pimlico, is 4:50 p.m. EST. Be sure to refer to this article if you’re playing FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!

#5 LIGHTS OF MEDINA (8-1) is the higher-priced Pletcher entrant and is also the more appealing one. She earned an automatic berth into the Black-Eyed Susan with a win in Laurel’s Weber City Miss Stakes. She beat just three others there but looked good doing it, earning a solid speed figure. The Weber City Miss was run over a sloppy track, so if it does rain at Pimlico on Friday, LIGHTS OF MEDINA only stands to benefit. She also has a fast track maiden win to run back to from two starts ago. Furthermore, her bullet work at Belmont for this signifies she’s in peak condition. Feargal Lynch will have the call, as he did last time out.

#7 MOANA (4-1, morning-line favorite) will be represented by the same jockey/trainer combo as Derby champ Always Dreaming; John Velazquez and Pletcher. She’s proven to be highly ratable in her first two starts, including her maiden victory last time out in which she sat patiently under Velazquez before pouncing late. The $300k daughter of Uncle Mo will be tested for class but she should be around late in this one.

#11 YORKIEPOO PRINCESS (10-1) could be the value of the race. She adds Lasix for the first time, presumably because she bled in the Gazelle. That would explain her bad effort after a solid winter campaign at Aqueduct in which she won three stakes. Irad Ortiz Jr. will not come in from Belmont to ride but she will have local expert Horacio Karamanos.

The play: $4 win 5, $1 exacta box 5/7/11 ($10)

DFJ analysis: John Velazquez has six quality mounts lined up on Black-Eyed Susan day. He starts off with Delphinia (3-1) in Race 2 before climbing aboard Mo Green (4-1) in the Allaire DuPont Distaff. Later on he has price player Eagle (8-1) in the Pimlico Special and Nonna Bella (5-1) in the Miss Preakness. After riding MOANA in the Black-Eyed Susan, he’ll get a leg up on Clipthecouponannie (9-5, morning-line favorite) in the Skipat.

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