Silverbulletday showed why she might have won the Preakness by overpowering the field in Friday's Black-Eyed Susan and smashing the stakes record.
The best filly in the land was set to run in Saturday's $1 million Preakness and challenge the boys for the first time. But the 3-year-old star drew the outside No. 14 post position, and trainer Bob Baffert and owner Mike Pegram decided to scratch her from the second leg of the Triple Crown.
Silverbulletday, the overwhelming 1-9 favorite, took care of six challengers in a hurry in the $200,000 Black-Eyed Susan, winning by a comfortable two lengths over Dreams Gallore. Vee Vee Star was third, 16½ lengths back.
"It's a little like a consolation prize," Baffert said. "I know the Black-Eyed Susan is a great race, but we had her ready for the Preakness. But I always put her before me and I always will."
With Gary Stevens aboard, Silverbulletday won her eighth straight race and 11th in 12 career starts. She covered 1 1/8 miles in 1:47 4/5, 2/5 of a second better than the stakes record set by Imaginary Lady in 1989. The winning time was 3/5 of a second off the track record set by Private Terms in 1989.
Leaving from the No. 1 post, Silverbulletday took the lead around the first turn, and was briefly challenged along the backstretch by The Happy Hopper. The daughter of Silver Deputy then took charge, moving to a six-length lead with just under 5-16ths of a mile left. And even though Dreams Gallore began gaining ground, the finish was never in doubt.
Now, baffert and pegram will always have to answer the question: Should Silverbulletday have run in the Preaknees?
| Silverbulletday wins the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes in record time. (AP)|
"Gary let her out of the gate and she just went with it," Baffert said. "From the 14 hole, she would have to sustain that run all the way. I don't know if even she could do that."
The victory was worth $180,000 to Pegram and boosted Silverbulletday's earnings to $2,271,750.
Silverbulletday returned $2.20, $2.10 and $2.10. Dreams Gallore, who was second to Silverbulletday in the Kentucky Oaks two weeks ago, paid $2.10 and $2.10. Vee Vee Star returned $2.10 to show.
Madison's Charm was fourth, followed by Mysterious Jak, The Happy Hopper and Magic Broad, more than 36 lengths behind Silverbulletday.
Baffert figured the poor post position for the Preakness was an omen.
"Somebody's trying to tell us not to run," Baffert said. "She's a great filly. The Preaknes is a great race. But these fillies come around rarely. I have to be really careful what I do."
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