Our Super Freak, second or third in five consecutive stakes dating back to last fall, may get her chance at that elusive stakes victory in the 95th running of the $250,000 Xpressbet Black-Eyed Susan (G2) at legendary Pimlico Race Course.
Owner and trainer Jamie Ness, who races his own horses as Jagger Inc., named for his late dog, said Tuesday that he is considering giving Our Super Freak her graded-stakes debut in the prestigious race for 3-year-old fillies.
“We're leaning toward taking a shot,” Ness said. “She's doing good. She came out of the last race fine. I really don't have anything else for her, so this might be a time to take a shot. Not sure yet, but we're leaning toward it.”
The 1 1/18-mile Black-Eyed Susan headlines a 14-race program Friday, May 17 that includes seven stakes, four graded, worth $1.15 million in purses and serves as a fitting prelude to the 144th Preakness Stakes (G1), the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown, Saturday, May 18.
Purchased for just $17,000 last May during Fasig-Tipton's Midlantic sale for 2-year-olds in training at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, Our Super Freak has earned $138,180 in purse money while finishing third or better in eight of nine career starts, two of them wins.
A chestnut daughter of 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft out of the unraced Giant's Causeway mare Thatcher, Our Super Freak broke her maiden in her third career start last October at Delaware Park, then came back 19 days later to beat winners in an optional claiming allowance at Laurel Park.
Since then Our Super Freak has raced exclusively in stakes, all at Laurel, running second in the Smart Halo and Gin Talking to cap her juvenile season. This year she finished second in the Wide Country, third in the Beyond the Wire and second by a nose in the Weber City Miss, all behind Maryland-bred Las Setas.
The April 20 Weber City Miss, contested at about 1 1/16 miles, offered the winner an automatic berth in the Black-Eyed Susan.
“It was the first time I got to run her two turns, and I think she ran a good race,” Ness said. “The filly that's been beating her, maybe she didn't run her best race and made it kind of close, or maybe we're gaining on her. I'm not sure. But she's just been consistent; she keeps trying hard. She's a grinder, and sometimes that's all you need to catch a break.”
Our Super Freak returned to the work tab Monday at Delaware with a five-furlong breeze in 1:03. Ness, who lives in northern Maryland and splits his horses between Delaware, Laurel and Parx for the summer, said the filly will work again this weekend.
“We're going to breeze her again maybe on Sunday,” Ness said. “We were supposed to do it this past Sunday but the weather was terrible so I had to push it back a day. But at this point, she's fit and all I need to do is keep her healthy and happy and that's it.
“She just had a nice, easy maintenance breeze here at Delaware. She's fit, she's sound, she's ready. We'll see how tough it comes up, but we might as well try to give her a chance,” he added. “She dances every dance and there's no reason why she won't this time either, unless the competition is too tough.”
First run in 1919 as the Pimlico Oaks, the Black-Eyed Susan has been won by horses such as Nellie Morse, the only filly to also win the Preakness, in 1924; along with champions Vagrancy, Twilight Tear, But Why Not, Wistful, Real Delight, Office Queen, Davona Dale, Serena's Song, Silverbulletday and Royal Delta.
“It would be a great race to win. It would be great for her value down the road, being a mother and just for her,” Ness said. “I've been doing this a long time and I've realized a lot of things can happen so sometimes you've got to be in it to win it.”
Las Setas is among the horses also being considered for the Black-Eyed Susan, along with Cookie Dough, a multiple stakes winner at 2 that this year has run second in the Davona Dale (G2) and third in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2), and Brill, a $1 million yearling that was third in the Chandelier (G1) at 2 and most recently in the Fantasy (G3) April 12 at Oaklawn Park.
Ness' lone graded-stakes triumph among 2,839 career victories came with Ghost Hunter in the 2017 Arlington Handicap (G3). Ghost Hunter captured his 9-year-old debut in a May 3 optional claiming allowance at Laurel that served as a prep for the $250,000 Maker's Mark Dixie (G2) on the Preakness undercard.
“It was kind of unexpected for me. I kind of put him in there just because I had nowhere else to run him and to try and get the race to go for my other horse,” Ness said. “He's got class and he knows how to win, and he took care of business. I didn't think I had him ready, but I had him ready enough. I was proud of him.”
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