BALTIMORE—If Nyquist fans were looking for a positive omen in Friday’s Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, they were disappointed.
Land Over Sea, owned by Reddam Racing, trained by Doug O’Neill and ridden by Mario Gutierrez, the same team as that of the undefeated favorite in Saturday’s Preakness, finished sixth in the featured race.
Instead, Go Maggie Go, who finished fourth in the Kentucky Oaks, the same race, Land Over came in second, won the Black-Eyed Susan by 2 ½ lengths over Ma Can Do It.
Go Maggie Go is trained by Dale Romans, who has Cherry Wine in the Preakness, and ridden by Luis Saez. Romans also trains Ma Can Do It.
Land over Sea raced from behind, and never was a factor.
“Just a rough trip,” O’Neill said. “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 came back good. We’ll live to fight another day. We’re just fired up about tomorrow.”
Gutierrez was upset about the race.
“Unbelievable. We never had a chance to run,” Gutierrez said.
On the day before the Preakness, the fun story of the day was the locally popular Maryland-bred 10-year-old, Ben’s Cat. The ancient gelding won the Jim McKay Turf Sprint for the fourth straight time, and fifth time in six years.
Trailing by nearly seven lengths with a quarter mile to go in the five furlong race, Ben’s Cat took the lead with less than a 1/16th mile remaining and won by a neck over Spring to the Sky in 56.1 seconds.
Ben’s Cat has won 32 times, and captured his 26th stakes win, more than any other active horse.
Trevor McCarthy rode him for the second straight time.
“He’s an unbelievable horse, by far the best horse I’ve ever been on. I’ve just never seen a horse like that,” McCarthy said.
His trainer acknowledged some nervous moments.
“I was worried,” King Leatherbury said. “He fired right at the end, like he always does. That’s his running style. He’s a great horse, that’s all.”
The 83-year-old has an affinity for older horses.
“Good horses, all the time they come up, but they don’t last. Fans have a favorite horse and a year or two later, they’re gone. Here, he just goes and goes and goes, and that’s what makes him so popular. He’s still around after all this time.”
In other featured stakes races, Noble Bird romped to an 11 ¼ length win in the Sagamore Spirit Pimlico Special and Ahh Chocolate won the Allaire DuPont Distaff by a half-length.