Spot plays and Pick 3 for Black-Eyed Susan Day May 19

May 19th, 2023

Pimlico Race Course will offer a 14-race card highlighted by the Black-Eyed Susan (G2) along with five other stakes on Friday, May 19.

Below, we offer spot plays and a Pick 3 ticket for the three stakes races preceding the Black-Eyed Susan, including the Miss Preakness (G3), Hilltop S., and Pimlico Special (G3).

$3 Pick 3 ticket with Key of Life singled: 1 with 2,8,10,11 with 1 ($12)

Alternate $1 Pick 3 ticket playing against Key of Life: 2,4,6 with 2,8,10,11 with 1 ($12)

Race 10: Miss Preakness S. (G3), six furlongs, 3yo fillies

#2 Key of Life (1-1) is the one to beat among the field of seven. The Mo Town filly will look to score her third straight victory and second consecutive graded stakes tally in the six-furlong sprint. Last out, the three-year-old wired the near seven-furlong Beaumont (G3) at Keeneland April 16 under Flavien Prat and retains his services Friday. Brad Cox is a 30% winner with horses that won their last race and a 26% winner in graded stakes, while Prat is a 25% winner in sprints.

But Key of Life will get a steep challenge from fellow pacesetter #6 Maple Leaf Mel (8-5), who’s unbeaten in three career starts by a combined 16 1/4 lengths. The Cross Traffic filly was last seen dominating the $100K East View S. at Aqueduct on March 24 and faces graded stakes company for the first time. Trainer Jeremiah Englehart is a 25% winner with shippers but 0-for-13 in graded stakes. Joel Rosario will stay in the saddle and will look to get the gray filly out front from the get-go.

A hot pace duel between Key of Life and Maple Leaf Mel may open the door for an unsuspecting rival, such as #4 Afternoon Tea (8-1) or longshot #1 L Street Lady (20-1). Afternoon Tea graduated at second asking in a $100K maiden special weight at Keeneland April 7. She’ll get a rider switch from Prat to Irad Ortiz Jr., a 25% winner in sprints, and makes her first start against stakes company for Rodolphe Brisset, who’s just a 4% winner in his last 53 graded stakes but a 16% winner with horses coming off a maiden victory.

L Street Lady is also intriguing for trainer Brittany Russell. The Munnings filly is 1-for-1 at today’s distance with a 91 Brisnet Speed rating when winning the Xtra Heat S. at Laurel Jan. 21. Last out, the three-year-old faltered in upper stretch and finished far back in last as the favorite in the seven-furlong Wide Country S. Russell is a 30% winner with beaten favorites. Jevian Toledo (22% winner this meet) will retain the mount and break from the rail post, which is winning at a 27% clip this meet.

We’ll single Key of Life to start the Pick 3, but if you want to stand against the favorite, our alternate ticket includes Maple Leaf Mel, Afternoon Tea, and L Street Lady in this first leg.

Race 11: Hilltop S., one mile (turf), 3yo fillies

Christophe Clement pupil #1 Breath Away (2-1) earned a 2 1/2-length win in the Sanibel Island S. in her third career start last out while under Jose Ortiz. The morning line favorite will get a rider switch back to Joel Rosario here and drew the rail post, which has produced a low win percentage for one-mile turf races at Pimlico so far this meet.

We’ll stand against Breath Away and back #11 Well Into (5-1), an Into Mischief daughter who led through the second call of the Appalachian (G2) at Keeneland but was outkicked by a pair of outer foes and yielded in the final sixteenth. The Jonathan Thomas trainee will get some class relief here and will pick up Luis Saez, a 13% winner on turf. The filly also posted a bullet four-furlong workout May 12, indicating she’s sharp and ready for her second stakes effort.

Additionally in our Pick 3 ticket, we’ll include #8 Up and Down (6-1) from the barn of Chad Brown, a 27% winner in non-graded stakes. The Creative Cause filly is eligible to improve in her second start off the layoff and while racing on Lasix for the second time. Last out, she broke her maiden at today’s distance at Keeneland.

We’ll also add recent maiden winner #10 After Eight (12-1), who wired a $100K maiden special weight while racing a mile at Keeneland on April 23. The Into Mischief filly flashed an 83 Brisnet Speed figure and can take another step forward in her second start off a break. Arnaud Delacour is a 19% winner in non-graded stakes and Jorge Ruiz is a 16% winner on turf and currently stands 2-for-4 to start the Pimlico meet.

Finally, #2 Aunt Shirley (9-2) is a win contender for Todd Pletcher. The Justify filly will race on Lasix the first time, a winning move 24% of the time for Pletcher, after setting the pace but yielding late to finish fourth in the Sanibel Island. Irad Ortiz Jr., a 27% winner on turf, will retain the mount.

Race 12: Pimlico Special (G3), 1 3/16 miles, 3yos and up

The final leg of the Pick 3 should come down between #2 Rattle N Roll (9-5) and #5 Law Professor (5-2). The former comes off a 1 1/4-length victory in the Ben Ali (G3) at today’s distance at Keeneland on April 22 while under regular rider Brian Hernandez Jr. However, Flavien Prat will pick up the mount on the Connect four-year-old here. Trainer Kenny McPeek is a 13% winner in graded stakes and strikes at a 14% rate third off the layoff. The colt has also put in a number of solid workouts at Churchill Downs ahead of this event.

We’ll single the 9-5 favorite over Law Professor, who romped to a 4 1/4-length win in the Excelsior S. under Manny Franco, who rode the Constitution gelding to a 7 1/2 length victory three back in the Queens Colonial S. on Jan. 7 at Aqueduct. In graded stakes, the five-year-old has not fared quite as well recently in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) and Razorback (G3) while under Irad Ortiz Jr., so we'll go all in on Rattle N Roll to close out the Pick 3.