Kent Desormeaux is scorching.
A week ago, he rode Golden Missile to a convincing victory in the $750,000 Pimlico Special and yesterday he was aboard Jostle for an impressive score in the Grade II, $200,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes.
If he wins the Preakness, as expected, on Fusaichi Pegasus today, Desormeaux will clean all the flowers out of Pimlico Race Course's winner's circle.
Jostle, who hadn't won since November, made it look easy after stalking some torrid early fractions set by Cash Run. She easily staved off March Magic by 2 1/2 lengths in prevailing in 1:52 2/5 over a muddy track.
Desormeaux said he became concerned when Jostle started "idling" once she dragged him to the lead and even more concerned when favored March Magic made her presence known "on the outside of me.
"But it was if the horse felt the presence of someone else because she just took off at that point without me even asking her."When my horse reacted the way, she did to the challenge, I knew it was going to take something pretty miraculous to beat her."
No one else had any miracles left for a track made sluggish by rain fall earlier in the day.
Cash Run held on gamely, being beaten by a nose by Impending Bear for third, after blazing through fractions of 22 2/5, 46 1/5 and 1:11 1/5.
"Those fractions took their toll," said jockey Pat Day of the horse who won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies last fall. "She fought hard to the wire and I thought we were going to get up for third. The other two just got away from us."
Rings a Chime, second in the Kentucky Oaks two weeks ago, dropped back quickly and finished last. Search Party, owner of a three-race winning streak, never menaced the leaders.
The local hope, Case of the Blues, was checked at the three-eighths pole and never mounted her patented rally.
Desormeaux said the track was "very uncharacteristic" of Pimlico. "It's a deep, sticky mud and horses at the five-sixteenths pole are getting very tired and bouncing up and down."
That didn't stop Jostle, now 5-for-9 in her career, with earnings of more than $400,000.
After taking the Demoiselle at Aqueduct, Jostle failed in two stakes at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans before returning to New York in April to finish a game second to March Magic in the Grade III Comely.
"When we got her back to New Jersey, she blossomed and dappled out real well," said trainer John Servis, who competes up and down the Atlantic Coast.
"When Kent had the bug here, he rode a lot of races for me. We'd come down here [from the Philadelphia area] to run races and he also rode for us in New Jersey."
Servis said Jostle is probably headed to the Coaching Club Oaks and Alabama Stakes in New York."I knew she had this in her," said Servis. "And I'm glad she showed it to us."
In the Grade II, $100,000 Gallorette on good turf, top-weighted Colstar made her move at the three-eighths pole and swooped to a 2 1/2 -length victory.
It was the third straight win and sixth in nine lifetime starts for the grandaughter of Preakness winner Risen Star, and second in a row over the Pimlico grass.
"We had a perfect trip," said jockey Alberto Delgado. "We were laying third behind the speed, just where I wanted to be because she likes to be covered up. I wanted to wait with her as long as I could because she waits on horses.
"But today when I asked her, she didn't wait when she made the lead. She just went on."
Melody Queen rallied inside of Terreavigne to gain the place by a nose. The winning time of 1:43 3/5 was leisurely, with the surface slowed by the rain.