The top local entrant for Friday's 89th running of the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico took one wrong step on Thursday and had to be scratched.
Walkwithapurpose, a Maryland-bred owned by Sagamore Farm in Glyndon, was expected to be one of the top contenders in the $500,000 Grade II race run at a mile and one-eighth for 3-year-old-fillies.
Thursday afternoon, however, the Sagamore Farm filly had to drop out of the race after bruising her foot earlier in the day during her final gallop on the track at Pimlico in preparation for Friday's race.
"X-rays have been taken and showed up negative, but we want to take the necessary precautions," Tom Mullikin, Sagamore's general manager, said in a statement. "We will find another race for her down the road after her foot has time to heal, and we are confident she has a great racing career ahead of her."
The defection of Walkwithapurpose means the race lines up with eight starters, two trained by Hall of Famers. Emollient, owned by the international powerhouse Juddmonte Farms, is already the winner of a $500,000 race, the Grade I Ashland Stakes at Keeneland in Kentucky on April 8. She's trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott.
Also entered is Fiftyshadesofhay, from the powerful stable of another Hll of Fame trainer, Bob Baffert.
First run as the Pimlico Oaks in 1919, the Black-Eyed Susan is second-most prestigious contest on Pimlico's two-day stakes card after Saturday's 138th running of the Preakness.
The approximate post for the Black-Eyed Susan, the 10th race on Friday's program, is 4:47 p.m. It's one of seven stakes races to be run at Old Hilltop Friday, among them the $300,000 Grade III Pimlico Special.
Emollient was made the early favorite at 9-5. Her win in the Ashland was at a mile and a sixteenth over an all-weather track. As a 2ear-old, she was second in the mile and an eighth Demoiselle at Aqueduct last November, so she has traveled the Black-Eyed Susan distance.
Emollient will be ridden by Mike Smith, who was aboard the filly for her Ashland triumph and who finished second in last year's Preakness on Bodemeister.
Running at Pimlico on Friday will give Mott a chance for a reunion with Jerry Bailey, the retired Hall of Fame jockey who is one of the NBC Sports racing commentators in town to cover the Preakness. Bailey and Mott were part of the team that campaigned 1995 and 1996 Horse of the Year Cigar, who was born in Maryland at Country Life Farm in Bel Air.
Fiftyshadesofhay, conditioned by the five-time Preakness winning trainer Baffert, is coming off a third-place finish in last month's Grade I Santa Anita Oaks in California and is the second choice on the program at 2-1.
Fiftyshadesofhay has been training at Churchill Downs, where she worked three-quarters of a mile in 1:10 2/5 on May 10, fastest at the distance that day among 27 horses.
"We shipped her to Kentucky, but she really didn't ship well," Baffert said from California earlier this week. "She's had a couple of works. Her last work was nice, so we decided to take a shot at it."
Baffert, who trains Preakness entry Govenor Charlie, has named Joel Rosario to ride Fiftyshadesofhay in the Black-Eyed Susan. Rosario is also the rider for Preakness favorite Orb, whom he piloted to victory in the Kentucky Derby on May 4.
Another of the Black-Eyed Susan entrants who could bear some watching is Maracuya, a lightly raced daughter of 2008 Kentucky Derby and Preakness champion Big Brown, from his first crop of foals.
Maracuya has started only twice in her career, winning both times at Gulfstream last month, including a $75,000 allowance in which she led from gate to wire and went a mile in 1:36 3/5. She had a bullet three-quarters work at 1:12 4/5 at Churchill Downs on May 8 and will be ridden Friday by John R. Valezquez for trainer Ralph Nicks.
With Walkwithapurpose scratched, the only Maryland based filly left the Black-Eyed Susan is Petit Trianon, whose last race was a victory in a $55,000 allowance at a mile over the Pimlico turf course.
Petit Trianon is trained by Juan Vazquez and will be ridden by Victor Carrasco. She's a long-shot, with her odds at 20-1.