Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Undefeated Faiza ‘Perfect’ Monday Morning at Pimlico
Baffert-Trained Filly Gallops for Friday’s Black-Eyed Susan
David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club
BALTIMORE, Md. – One week short of a year after being purchased for $725,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training sale in nearby Timonium, MD, Faiza went to the track Monday morning for some routine exercise at historic Pimlico Race Course in preparation for a start in Friday’s $300,000 George E. Mitchell Black-Eyed Susan (G3).
Following the renovation break, Jimmy Barnes, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s top assistant, oversaw her first visit to the main course over which she will compete in the 1 1/8-mile stakes for 3-year-old fillies.
Faiza shared the Pimlico oval with Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Mage, the likely favorite for Saturday’s 148th running of the Preakness Stakes (G1).
“She was absolutely perfect on the track and galloped about a mile and quarter,” Barnes said. “I’m very happy with what I saw. She’s bright, alert and happy.”
The Baffert horses were flown from California to Newark, N.J. on Saturday then loaded on a van for a four-hour trip to Baltimore. Barnes said she handled the trip well.
“She’s very sensible and I don’t think traveling is really going to hinder her at all,” he said.
Michael Lund Petersen’s filly brought the top price on the first day of the Midlantic sale and second-highest winning bid overall, has proven to be a value buy. She is unbeaten in five starts, including four-graded stakes victories, and has earned $642,000 while establishing herself as a top contender for division honors.
Faiza, who is coming off a 6 ½-length romp in the Santa Anita Oaks, was bred in Kentucky at Brereton Jones’ Airdrie Stud and is a member of stallion Girvin’s first crop. She is the second foal to race out of the Smart Strike mare Sweet Pistol. She sold for $90,000 as a yearling and was pinhooked at the Midlantic Sale 10 months later.