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Andrew Champagne previews the card at Pimlico today, including the Black-Eyed Susan

2021 Black-Eyed Susan Betting Preview & Predictions

Preakness week is upon us, and Friday’s Preakness Eve card at Pimlico is a real doozy. We’ll have 14 races on tap, and there’s an all-stakes Pick Four starting in the 10th and ending with the Preakness’s sister race, the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan. I’ll attack the sequence with a $24 ticket, and here’s how I’ve put it together.

The Miss Preakness Stakes Predictions (Race 10)

We’ll start things off with the Grade 3 Miss Preakness for 3-year-old fillies going six furlongs, and there’s a ton of speed signed on. With that in mind, I want horses that have shown they can rate, and I’ve gone two-deep.

#2 RED GHOST is my top pick. She debuted with a very strong performance last summer at Saratoga before flopping in her lone turf start to date at Kentucky Downs. However, she came back in a main-track race at Keeneland and showed a lot when stalking just off the speed and pouncing late. John Velazquez rides back for Wesley Ward, and I think she could sit a similar trip here just behind a very fast pace.

I’ll also throw in #5 STREET LUTE, a local horse who’s done very little wrong. She’s won seven of her nine starts, has never finished worse than third, and doesn’t necessarily need the lead in order to run well. This is a class test for her, as she’s been beating up lesser opposition, but she’s worked very well at Old Hilltop and can’t be ignored.

The Hilltop Stakes Predictions (Race 11)

We’ll head to the turf for the Hilltop Stakes, which drew a field of 14 3-year-old fillies to go two turns on the lawn. Again, this looks like a race with plenty of early zip, which means I want closers.

#6 MIA MARTINA makes a lot of sense to me. She won her first two starts before finishing a late-running fourth in the Grade 3 Florida Oaks, where she was left with far too much to do. Her race in the Grade 3 Gazelle is a total throw-out, as the connections tried dirt and she obviously didn’t care for it. She’s back to her preferred surface, she should sit her preferred trip, and that makes her a major player.

I’ll also use #2 SEASONS and #5 BUBBLES ON ICE. The former was highly-touted at Saratoga ahead of her debut, which she won, and she then ran a decent third in the Grade 1 Natalma at Woodbine before going to the sidelines for patient horseman Jimmy Toner. Meanwhile, the latter made her American debut a winning one for Christophe Clement and tried far tougher overseas last season. She gets Lasix for the first time and may be in line to improve second off the bench.

The Pimlico Special Predictions (Race 12)

The Grade 3 Pimlico Special has a ton of history to it, and this year’s renewal came up very salty. Given the dearth of top-class runners in the U.S. handicap division, this may be one of the best-quality races we see for a while.

I’m going four-deep, and my top pick is #4 ENFORCEABLE, who I’ve liked ever since his 2-year-old season. He ran a fast-closing third in the Grade 2 New Orleans Classic back in March and has every right to want a journey of this length. John Velazquez hops aboard, and I think he provides plenty of value at or near that 10-1 morning line price.

#1 MODERNIST, #2 FEARLESS, and #7 HARPERS FIRST RIDE are also on my ticket, and the last of those three horses intrigues me the most. He won this race a season ago, and his form looks far better if you draw a line through the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup. The problem is, that’s the only race on his running lines that didn’t allow Lasix, which he will not run on here, either. If he can replicate his form from his other races, he’ll be a handful. The question is, does he need Lasix to be at his best?

The Black-Eyed Susan Stakes Predictions (Race 13)

We’ll finish with the Black-Eyed Susan, and much like in the Preakness on Saturday, the likely favorite hails from the highly-scrutinized barn of Bob Baffert. If she’s her usual self, I think she’s the most likely winner, but there’s a much bigger price I also had to use as well.

#10 BEAUTIFUL GIFT is that chalk, and she’s yet to run a bad race through four career starts. She’s got tactical speed but doesn’t need the lead, and she’s bred up and down to want as much distance as she can get. I understand the ethical dilemma that exists with Baffert runners at this time, but it’s my job to give out tickets I’m confident in, and I can’t assemble one of those without Beautiful Gift on it.

However, I’ll have another rooting interest in here. #7 MISS LESLIE certainly gets tested for class here, but she’s a proven closer in a race with a lot of early speed, and she’s 2-for-2 going two turns. Her most recent win came over this track last month, and a recent half-mile drill indicates she bounced out of that effort in fine form. At her likely price, with the likely race shape, she needs to be on my tickets.


R10: 2,5

R11: 2,5,6

R12: 1,2,4,7

R13: 7,10

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Article Author

Horse Racing

Andrew Champagne is a horse racing handicapper with a specialism in juveniles. One thing is for certain, Champagne gets the party started.


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