There was no stopping the winner of the $250K Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2), ARMY WIFE, as she proved to be much the best against her nine rivals.
The big striding filly was piloted by Joel Rosario, trained by Michael Maker, and owned by Three Diamonds Farm.
ARMY WIFE broke fast out of the gate, but was shuffled back to sixth, about four lengths off the lead, while 18-1 pacesetter LADY TRAVELER opened the quarters in 23.71 and 46.71.
Midway through the backside, Joel Rosario sends ARMY WIFE up the rail through an opening, but has to stop at the heels of the front runner, causing his filly to toss her head around due to keenness to keep going.
But Joel Rosario kept his hold on ARMY WIFE as they turned for home, until switching to the clear and cutting her loose for the stretch drive.
ARMY WIFE responded with plenty of run, charging past LADY TRAVELER to seize the lead, and holding off the late charge of WILLFUL WOMEN.
The final margin of victory was a comfortable three-length score. WILLFUL WOMEN got up for second, then it was LADY TRAVELER in third. The final time for the one mile and one-eighth run was 1:49.63.
"I had the horse there, and I was just trying to get my spot," winning jockey Joel Rosario said.
"It was a decision that I had to make, because they were coming back a little bit in front of me, and I had the horse," said Rosario, now a two-time Black-Eyed Susan winner. "I decided I needed to go, because I had some room to go and just let her run her race."
ARMY WIFE paid $11.00 to win, $5.80 to place, and $4.00 to show. She is by DECLARATION OF WAR out of TREAD by ARCH. She improves her record to 3 wins, 1 second, and 2 thirds out of 8 total starts. She pushes her earnings to $288,972, while securing her first graded stakes victory.
ARMY WIFE had a morning-line odds of 8-1 before public support brought her down to 5-1. She was coming off a troubled trip in last month's Gazelle Stakes (G3), where she was forced to check between the 3/16th pole, compromising her chances to catch the eventual winner SEARCH RESULTS.
Fast-forward to today — it was obvious she was more than ready to run. She posted a sharp 5F workout last week in preparation for this race, going 1:00.6 as the 5th fastest of 20 workouts at that distance. She was making her third start off a lay-off.
"She had been a hard-luck horse her whole career," trainer Michael Maker told NBC. "It always seemed like something happened. She's been a filly I've been excited about since she was 2. She makes a fabulous appearance; she looks like a colt. I'm just happy and looking forward to the rest of the year."
Source: NBC, ThoroughbredDailyNews, Ron Flatter, HorseRacingNation, ESPN