Mike Tarp's homebred Go Maggie Go was the hard-fought winner of Friday's Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan, marking the second consecutive year that trainer Dale Romans has won the race. The sophomore daughter of Ghostzapper dueled for the lead throughout the race, just shaking free of her rivals in the final sixteenth of a mile to win by 2 1/2 lengths. Go Maggie Go covered the nine furlongs in 1:51.81 over Pimlico's fast main track.
“She should have been closer to the pace in the Oaks,” said Romans. “She crossed her legs and when they were straightening her up they sprung the latch and she just got left behind. That's what showed me the quality filly that she is, because she had been close to the lead in her two previous starts and she got all the dirt and still came running. When she left there clean today, I didn't think they were going to beat her.”
In just her fourth lifetime start, Go Maggie Go broke very well under Luis Saez and took him to the lead, where she was immediately joined by Kinsley Kisses. Those two remained stride for stride all the way around the racetrack, clicking off fractions of :23.49, :48.83, and 1:13.54 in the early going. Immediately following the leading pair was Ma Can Do It alongside Midnight On Oconee. Land Over Sea, second in the Kentucky Oaks, was about ten lengths off the pace through the first turn.
Entering the final turn, Go Maggie Go and Kinsley Kisses were still locked in battle, with neither filly giving an inch to the other. A few right-handed reminders from Saez set his filly's neck in front, but Kinsley Kisses was clinging to her until the sixteenth pole. Closing well was Ma Can Do It, also trained by Romans, along the rail, who got up for second, but she was 2 1/2 lengths behind Go Maggie Go at the wire. Kinsley Kisses held on for third, and Dothraki Queen was fourth.
“When she broke from the gate (in the Kentucky Oaks) she got a little bothered and then we came from far back,” said Saez. “She made a move but we lost a lot of ground. Today she got a nice trip. I didn't want to be in that position, but when we came to the first turn I was right there and I had to let her run.”
Bred in Kentucky, Go Maggie Go is out of a daughter of Tale of the Cat, purchased as a 2-year-old and raced by winning breeder Mike Tarp. Go Maggie Go finished fourth in the Kentucky Oaks two weeks ago, compromised by a poor start. She has now won three of her four lifetime starts, and boasts career earnings of over $370,000.
“This is such a special race in a special city that still loves horse racing so much and treats us all with such open arms when we come to town,” said Romans. “I tell everyone that the Kentucky Derby is the most intense race in the world, this is the most fun for horsemen. We get out of that boiler pot over there and we come here, and Baltimore just opens its arms to us. We love it here.”
Black-Eyed Susan Trainer Quotes
Kenny McPeek (Dothraki Queen, 4th): “She ran great if you like being fourth. She had a little trouble getting inside of the favorite going into the second turn. She kind of got her run started later than we wanted to. She ran great but speed just didn't back up. She certainly belonged in the Kentucky Oaks. I think she showed that today.”
Joe Sharp (Mom's On Strike, 5th): “We were really pleased with how she ran, but obviously disappointed because she didn't get beat far and she looked like a winner turning for home. I think the fact that it was only her third start of her life that probably caught up with her. She seemed a little bit green with the big field and all that.She definitely ran a respectable race and moving forward we've got a nice filly.”
Doug O'Neill (Land Over Sea, 6th): “Just a rough trip. She didn't break real good. They kind of went slow early and she was a victim of a rough trip. Thank God she came back good and Mario (Gutierrez) came back good. We'll live to fight another day. We're just fired up about tomorrow.”
Peter Eurton (She's a Warrior, 7th): “I don't know that she handled the track well. The first turn was a little hairy. Gary (Stevens) had to steady on the turn a couple times. I don't know how much that took out of her for the rest of the race. She came back pretty dirty.”
James Lawrence (Downdraft, 8th): “She was compromised right at the beginning. We got pinched back. We wanted to be about fourth or fifth back. She was in trouble all the way down the backside. She ran up the rail and galloped out with the leaders. It was just bad racing luck, but we're proud of her.”
Andre Stock, Assistant to trainer Larry Jones (Midnight On Oconee, 10th): “I thought Gabriel (Saez) gave her a good ride. I thought we had a nice shot and the race set up perfect, but we just didn't have the horse today.”
Michael Trombetta (A P Majestic, 11th): “She was deeply challenge for sure. For a long shot in one of these races, everything's got to go their way. She might have hit her hip coming out of the gate and she was a little snug going into the first turn. My jockey felt she couldn't keep pace at the top of the stretch and made sure to bring her home safely.”
Peter Walder (Double Entendre, 12th): “She was a little rank early. She's her own worst enemy. She's got talent, but she's just her own worst enemy. I was hoping to be closer, but she got cut off at the start. I really wanted to be closer, but it just didn't work out like that.”
Black-Eyed Susan Jockeys Quotes
Brian Hernandez Jr. (Ma Can Do It, 2nd): “I had a great trip, and was able to save ground all the way around. She broke well and I was going to be forwardly placed but when I saw (trainer) Dale's (Romans) other horse (Go Maggie Go) in front of me I let her go. Dale told me to ride her with confidence. For a maiden to come back like that (in the stretch) against stakes winners, that's really good.”
John Velazquez (Kinsley Kisses, 3rd): “We had her basically in a perfect spot. We just didn't have enough at the end.”
Julien Leparoux (Dothraki Queen, 4th): “I had a good trip except for a little bumping in the first turn. I thought it best to ease her back and make one run, but it did not set up well for us. This is a nice filly. She ran well.”
Irad Ortiz Jr. (Mom's On Strike, 5th): “I had to take my horse back a little. We didn't have the best of trips, but I tried to stay in the race. On the turn, she came on in the end and put in a good run.”
Mario Gutierrez (Land Over Sea, 6th): “Unbelievable. We never had a chance to run.”
Gary Stevens (She's a Warrior, 7th): “She had a rough trip. When she was going into the first turn, we got bumped around a little bit. Then she settled into a nice stride. But that first turn really took its toll on her. She ran a good pace but we're just a little disappointed.”
Angel Cruz (Downdraft, 8th): “My horse really didn't get into the race very well. We didn't have good position and we didn't have much room to run until the very end of the race.
Junior Alvarado (Flora Dora, 9th): “My horse broke slow so I had to be three wide the entire race. With a better trip, we would have run much better. I got her into it at the three-eighths pole but because we had such bad position, there wasn't much that I could do.”
Gabriel Saez (Midnight On Oconee, 10th) – “We broke sharp and went a quick first quarter. The second quarter was slowed down and we were in a comfortable spot. When I asked her to pick it up, she just couldn't keep up.”
Victor Carrasco (A P Majestic, 11th): “We had a little trouble out of the gate and then we got in a tight place in the first turn. She got a little nervous or excited and she lunged. I didn't want to abuse her, so I just took care of her for the next race.”
Javier Castellano (Double Entendre, 12th): “In the first part of the race I tried to settle behind horses. She threw her head and was so hard to settle, then finally she did.”
Watch the race replay here:
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