Will Black-Eyed Susan Day be a “Gray Day?”

May 16, 2023

Hoosier Philly checking out the shedrow in the stakes barn at Pimlico. (Jim McCue/MJC)

By Maribeth Kalinich

In the 98 runnings of the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, formerly the Pimlico Oaks, nine gray fillies have taken home the treasure. Will Hoosier Philly be number ten? Or could it be Taxed?

There was a spate of wins by gray fillies in the past six years. Gary and Mary West’s Actress won in 2017. Trained by Jason Servis and under Nik Juarez the Tapit filly wrestled Lights of Medina for the win by a neck in her third career start.

Piloted by Paco Lopez Red Ruby followed suite and shimmered in the 2018 edition winning by 4-3/4 lengths over Coach Rocks with Luis Saez up. 

The Tiznow filly was trained by Kelly Gorder and owned by Dandra Sexton and Brandi Nicholson. 

The steely-gray Miss Marissa winning the 2020 Black-Eyed Susan. (Jim McCue/MJC)

In 2020, Alfonso Cammarota’s Miss Marissa with Daniel Centeno aboard overtook favorite Brad Cox trainee Bonnie South under Florent Geroux by a neck for the victory for trainer James Ryerson. 

Miss Marissa gets her lovely coat through her sire, He’s Had Enough, whose sire is Tapit. 

There were two gray ladies in the 1990s: Calipha in 1994 and Salt it in 1997.

In previous decades there had been only one gray filly per era—High Voltage in 1955, Farest Nan in 1967, What A Summer in 1976 and Delicate Ice in 1982

Hoosier Philly splashes to victory in the Rags to Riches. (Coady)

Gold Standard Racing Stable’s lovely gray Hoosier Philly had a sensational 2-year-old season for trainer Tom Amoss, sweeping three races at Churchill Downs. She broke her maiden on Sept. 22, won the Rags to Riches in the slop by 7 ½ lengths and took the Golden Rod (G2) by five lengths. 

This year, though, her fortunes changed at Fair Grounds. She was third, 8½ lengths behind the winner in the Rachel Alexandra (G2), and fourth, 15 ¼ lengths back in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2).

Hoosier Philly winning the Golden Rod at Churchill Downs. (Coady)

“She trained very well all along,” Amoss said. “Having said that, it’s a bit of a puzzle that we’ve been trying to correct to get her to run back to her 2-year-old races. It’s safe to say each time we’ve run her, I thought she would run her race. And we haven’t seen that to this point. 

“Having said that, we like the way she’s doing and we’re looking forward to competing in what’s going to be a very tough race.”

Hoosier Philly and jockey Edgar Morales drew Post 3 for the Black-Eyed Susan. 

An early Kentucky Oaks hopeful, she was number 18 on the Kentucky Oaks Leaderboard with 45 points making her an Also Eligible however there were no defections offering the filly a starting position. 

The gray daughter of leading sire Into Mischief out of the Tapit mare Tapella sold for $510,000 as a yearling.

Taxed prepping for the Kentucky Oaks. The filly was number 16 on the leaderboard with 48 points but couldn’t draw in as Also Eligible. (Coady Photography)

There is another gray in the mix this year. Richard Bahde and trainer Randy Morse claimed Taxed for $50,000 in November and she has emerged as a stakes runner at Oaklawn Park with a pair of seconds behind Wet Paint, the beaten favorite in the Kentucky Oaks (G1).

A daughter of Collected, she ended up two lengths behind Wet Paint at 27-1 in the Martha Washington and two races later was 2 ½ behind the star filly at 33-1. Rafael Bejarno retains the mount on Taxed, who drew Post 10.

Hoosier Philly (10-1) and Taxed (15-1) will both get the Spring Classic starts that they worked so hard to earn this Saturday at historic Pimlico Race Course.

The Grade II George E. Mitchell Black-eyed Susan is Race 13 and post time is 5:44 p.m. ET.

@Tracking_Trips nice call Jon

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