Baroness Thatcher has been installed as the 3-2 overnight favorite in the field of eight for today's feature, the Grade II, $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico Race Course.
The 83rd running of the 1 1/8 -mile test for 3-year-old fillies headlines a card with five stakes races, including two others that are graded, the $125,000 Miss Preakness and the $200,000 Allaire DuPont Breeders' Cup Distaff.
Second to Kentucky Oaks winner Rags to Riches in the Grade I Las Virgenes at Santa Anita Park in February, Baroness Thatcher is the leading money winner in the Susan with $140,420. Garrett Gomez will be in the saddle.
Panty Raid, trained by Todd Pletcher and to be ridden by Edgar Prado, won at the distance in her last start and is the second choice at 5-2 odds. Grace Happens, who was pulled up in the mud in the Kentucky Oaks, is also a well-regarded filly, trained by D. Wayne Lukas.
The program is a ladies' day feast. The DuPont is for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles, and the Miss Preakness sends 3-year-old fillies over six furlongs. The other two stakes are also for female runners.
Four of the added-money races will be televised live by ESPN2.
'Quay' given chance
The Preakness horses had a rather leisurely day with Pletcher supervising gallops for his two entries at Belmont Park, then sending them by van to Pimlico. That leaves only Xchanger off the grounds, and trainer Mark Shuman plans to bring him from Fair Hill tomorrow morning.
"Both horses [Circular Quay and King of the Roxy] are doing very well," said Pletcher, who believes the Preakness could set up for a closer like Circular Quay.
Curlin and Flying First Class got some first exposure to the Pimlico track with a gallop and a jog, respectively, and Xchanger galloped at Fair Hill.
Trainer Carl Nafzger said Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense will gallop this morning over the Pimlico strip.
Prado, vet honored
Dr. Dean Richardson and jockey Prado, who was not present, were honored yesterday at the 2007 Alibi Breakfast with special merit awards for their roles in the treatment of Barbaro.
Prado, who was riding at Belmont Park yesterday, sent his thanks via a letter, citing in particular track staff members for their quick action when last year's Kentucky Derby winner broke down at the Preakness.
Dr. Richardson supervised the rehabilitation process that kept Barbaro alive for more than eight months after the accident. He was saluted by Joe De Francis, chief executive officer of the Maryland Jockey Club, as someone who "represents everything that's pure and good about our sport."
Reeves International made a $126,500 donation to the Laminitis Fund, created in memory of Barbaro. The check was presented to the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School by company president Tony Fleischmann.
An original painting of Barbaro by artist Susan Sommer-Luarca will be auctioned on eBay starting tomorrow to benefit the National Thoroughbred Racing Association Charities-Barbaro Memorial Fund. Bidding will continue for 10 days with a starting price of $5,000. Those simply wishing to make a cash donation to the fund may do so by going to www.ridingwithbarbaro.org.