Land Over Sea has been second best five times to Songbird and one time to Cathryn Sophia, the latter in the May 6 Kentucky Oaks (G1). On Friday at Pimlico, owner J. Paul Reddam and trainer Doug O’Neill hope the daughter of Bellamy Road will simply be the best of 13 rivals in the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2), the 1 1/8-mile highlight that anchors a tremendous 14-race, Preakness eve card.
Consistently in the frame behind the best of her generation, Land Over Sea hopes to add another big win to her record this term. Escaping Songbird for the first time in late March, the chestnut romped to a 4 1/2-length win in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2). Her Kentucky Oaks attempt was solid, too, rallying from 11th to edge Lewis Bay by a neck for runner-up honors.
“It looked like we were going to run fifth or sixth and still run a good race, but for her and (jockey) Mario (Gutierrez) to just never quit and get up for second was a phenomenal effort,” O’Neill said. “Mario said she just kind of hesitated leaving there. She didn’t really follow the doors in a manner that put her in a better position. He did the right thing. He didn’t panic and just let her settle where she was which was a little farther back than we had hoped, but because of him settling she had that punch to get up for second.”
Also exiting the Kentucky Oaks is Go Maggie Go, a strong fourth at Churchill Downs despite encountering loads of trouble. The Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) winner was also conceding experience, having only two career runs since March 13 going in.
“I think if you go back and watch the race you can make a case for her being second the other day. She had a rough trip,” trainer Dale Romans said. “She broke away bad and had a little traffic down the lane but she’s a darn good filly.”
Looking for a maiden-breaking upset in the Black-Eyed Susan is She’s a Warrior, a distant third to Songbird in the Las Virgenes (G2) and Santa Anita Oaks (G1) earlier this year. In between those outings, the filly missed graduating on the turf by a nose.
Dothraki Queen, who captured the Pocahontas (G2) and placed in the Alcibiades (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) last fall, was up the track in her lone appearance of the year in the Appalachian (G3) on the Keeneland turf. Also exiting a loss in Lexington is Kinsley Kisses, who endured her first career setback in the one-turn Beaumont (G3).
Other notables in the lineup are Grade 2-placed Midnight On Oconee, a tiring seventh after setting the pace in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2); A P Majetstic and In the Navy Now, one-two in the $100,000 Weber City Miss at Laurel last time; Grade 3-placed stakes winner Flora Dora; and recent Oaklawn allowance scorer Cced.
(Lou Hodges Jr./Hodges Photography)