Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Stetson Racing's Point of Honor rebounded from a fourth-place finish in the Gulfstream Park Oaks to capture Friday's G2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico as the 5-2 favorite. The 3-year-old daughter of Curlin carried jockey Javier Castellano to his fifth win on the card (his fourth in a stakes race), defeating Ulele by a half-length on the wire. Trained by George Weaver, Point of Honor completed nine furlongs over the fast main track in 1:47.88.
“We really believed in this filly and things didn't quite go her way in the Gulfstream Park Oaks, which we though would be enough to qualify her for the Kentucky Oaks,” said Eclipse Thoroughbreds' Aron Wellman. “We were on the outside looking in and didn't get in, and here we are today.”
“It was a perfect trip,” Castellano said, thrilled after his fifth winner on the card. “Outside in the clear, she went by all the horses. That's what I was looking for today and we had the best result.”
As expected, Cookie Dough jumped from the gate well and immediately strode off into the lead. She took the field through fractions of :23.36 and :47.02 with a two-length advantage over Brill, tracked by Ulele, Las Setas and Always Shopping. Meanwhile Point of Honor stayed three-wide on the outside, traveling sixth in the eight-filly field.
Into the far turn, Brill tried to cut into Cookie Dough's lead just as Ulele moved into position on her inside. Point of Honor saved her four-wide bid until the quarter pole, digging in from the center of the track as the field turned for home.
Point of Honor and Ulele hit the lead at about the same time in the stretch, then battled through the final three-sixteenths of a mile to wire. At the finish, Point of Honor was a half-length better than Ulele, with another 2 1/4 lengths back to a still-trying Cookie Dough in third.
“When I saw 23 [seconds] and change and saw 47 and Jaiver had a good hold on her on the outside in the clear, I was pretty confident,” Wellman said. “Down the lane I thought she would put them away with more ease, but Brad Cox's filly [Ulele] put up a heck of a fight. She really made our filly run to the wire.”
The full order of finish is as follows: Point of Honor, Ulele, Cookie Dough, Brill, Off Topic, Always Shopping, Las Setas, and Our Super Freak.
“Joel [Rosario] gave her a perfect trip and she ran a great race,” trainer Brad Cox said of the runner-up Ulele. “It was a tremendous race from her and she's a tough filly. I thought she performed well.”
Bred in Kentucky by Siena Farms LLC, Point of Honor was an $825,000 RNA at the Keeneland September sale. She is out of the Bernardini mare Zayanna, a half-sister to five six-figure earners led by multiple stakes winner and sire Capitano. Point of Honor won her first two starts, the second in the listed Suncoast Stakes at Tampa, before finishing fourth in the Gulfstream Oaks. The Black-Eyed Susan improves her career record to three wins from four starts, and earnings just shy of $250,000.
“She's three for four now and we've always liked her,” said Weaver. “The Gulfstream Park [Oaks] was a little odd to us. She had some trouble in the first turn and got steadied and ate a little bit of dirt. She just didn't seem quite as handy or responsive that day. But the track was playing that day like a conveyor belt and it was carrying the front runners and it was a short run to the wire. So she didn't really get into gear until inside the sixteenth pole. We drew a little outside today and you lose ground being wide but I think she likes that kind of trip.”
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