Land Over Sea Holds Edge in Black-Eyed Susan Stakes
Land Over Sea Holds Edge in Black-Eyed Susan Stakes by Reinier Macatangay: Certain races offer few or no viable alternatives to the favorite. For instance, in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (GII) on Friday at Pimlico Race Course, Land Over Sea will attempt to pick up her second graded stakes win, and her record looks excellent compared to most of the field. Just think about the horses who defeated Land Over Sea this year.
Out of four races, only two horses finished ahead of Land Over Sea in 2016: Songbird and Cathryn Sophia.
Luckily for Land Over Sea, none of those superstars appear, and she comes into this race off a solid runner-up finish in the Kentucky Oaks (GI) at Churchill Downs.
With trainer Doug O’Neill, owner Reddam Racing and jockey Mario Gutierrez behind her, Land Over Sea would make fans happy if she rebounded with a win this week. The Derby-winning connections are in line to pull off a Black-Eyed Susan/Preakness double, which would continue a magical season for the team.
If there is one concern though, the daughter of Bellamy Road lacks early speed. At Churchill Downs, Land Over Sea started from eight lengths off the pace in 11th. Granted, she closed well to run second and lose by less than three lengths.
Two starts ago at Fair Grounds, Land Over Sea only had four lengths to make up from sixth place, and she finished the job, winning by four lengths over Dream Dance, who went on to finish eighth in the Kentucky Oaks.
Three starts back in the Santa Ysabel Stakes (GII), Land Over Sea closed from five lengths back in fifth, while the ultra-fast Songbird cut fractions of 23.20, 46.02 and 1:09.98 (which helped eliminate the other front-runners).
In her February race, Land Over Sea began four lengths back from Songbird in the Las Virgenes Stakes (GII), but actually lost ground approaching the stretch while Songbird romped.
The Black-Eyed Susan may lack Songbird or Cathryn Sophia, but it remains a concern Land Over Sea will give other capable fillies a head start. Last year’s win by Keen Pauline showed how a longshot can easily steal this race on the front end.
Land Over Sea’s two main opponents appear to be Kinsley Kisses, recent third-place finisher in the Beaumont Stakes (GIII) at Keeneland and Go Maggie Go, who ran a troubled fourth in the Kentucky Oaks.
Kinsley Kisses comes from the Todd Pletcher barn and showed good early speed in all three of her starts, and also picked up a third-place finish in the seven-furlong Beaumont Stakes (GIII) at Keeneland. This race will be Kinsley Kisses’ first route attempt.
Go Maggie Go hails from the Dale Romans barn and she ran fourth in the Kentucky Oaks. Note the comments on the right side of her running line which state “Steadied; 7w; herded.” Although she closed from seventh, her previous efforts reveal early speed.
As for other contenders, well, Dothraki Queen (Game of Thrones reference) appears for trainer Kenneth McPeek. Considering the layoff, the initial flop in her first start of the year can be disregarded.
The Larry Jones-trained Midnight On Oconee will be a recognizable name for handicappers too, as she finished runner-up in the Rachel Alexandra Stakes (GII) at Fair Grounds. She will display a good amount of speed as well. None of the fillies will outkick Land Over Sea from behind, so if an upset occurs, it will happen on the front. Yet, It is fair to question her distance ability.
Singling Land Over Sea is not the worst strategy, as she holds the class advantage and should win if nothing unusual happens. Searching for value is fine, but sometimes bettors need to ask themselves “Can this filly really win, or am I just throwing darts?” If an alternative or two must be used, throw in the aforementioned Kinsley Kisses and Go Maggie Go.
Pace Logic and History Favor Nyquist in 2016 Preakness