Miss Marissa‘s speed was an asset in Saturday’s $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) at Pimlico as favorite Bonny South’s bid came too late to catch the 10-1 chance in the 1 1/8-mile test for 3-year-old fillies.
Rating a close second behind pacesetter Mizzen Beau through fractions of :23.10 and :46.61, and 1:10.74, Miss Marissa bid for the lead under Daniel Centeno around the far turn and began to edge clear approaching the stretch.
Favored at 9-10, Bonny South stumbled slightly a few strides out of the gate and was squeezed back to last. Although a late runner anyway, Bonny South lagged far off the leaders, improved position on the far turn, but had her momentum seemingly stall entering the stretch.
Miss Marissa opened up a bit in the final furlong, when Bonny South finally began to kick into high gear. However, her late surge fell short of catching Miss Marissa by a neck.
Owned by Alfonso Cammarota and trained by Jim Ryerson, Miss Marissa paid $22.20 after covering the distance in 1:48.08 over a fast track. Following Bonny South under the wire were Hopeful Growth, Mizzen Beau, Dream Marie, Project Whiskey, Sharp Starr, Truth Hurts, Perfect Alibi, and So Darn Hot.
This was the first stakes win for Miss Marissa, who Ryerson had aspirations for at two but had to wait until this season to be fulfilled.
After breaking her maiden by five lengths in her fourth start, Miss Marissa finished sixth of seven in the Frizette (G1) and then stretched out to 1 1/8 miles for the Demoiselle (G2), which she wound up trailing by 41 lengths.
“Last year I thought she wanted two turns and she made a liar out of me,” Ryerson said. “It was ugly.”
Third and fourth in a pair of sprint stakes last winter, Miss Marissa was out of action from February until June. Fifth in her comeback on turf, she proceeded to win two allowances at Monmouth and Saratoga, both around two turns.
“Ever since we got a two-turn race at Monmouth, she just moved forward,” said Ryerson, who said the Nov. 27 Comely (G3) at Aqueduct over 1 1/8 miles could be a fall goal.
Bred in Kentucky by Woodford Thoroughbreds, Miss Marissa was sold an $11,000 OBS October yearling. By He’s Had Enough, she was produced by Adara, a daughter of Arch. Miss Marissa’s second dam was Canadian champion turf mare Inish Gloria.
The betting favorites faltered in the $200,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G3) as Laki prevailed in a three-way photo between rivals to claim the 6-furlong fixture by a nose over Eastern Bay, with Nitrous another nose behind in third. Odds-on favorite Landeskog trailed the field of six while second choice Admiral Lynch finished only one spot better in fifth.
A 7-year-old gelded son of Cuba owned by Hillside Equestrian Meadows and trained by Damon Dilodovico, Laki paid $16.40 after covering the distance in 1:09.70 under Horacio Karamanos. This was the sixth career stakes win, but first graded, for Laki, who’s now won 10 of 28 starts.
“It was unbelievably exciting. Everyone was hollering like it was a full house, like a May Preakness. It means the world to me,” said Dilodovico, who won the 2013 De Francis Dash with Immortal Eyes.
Wicked Whisper registered her first win in nearly a year in the $150,000 Miss Preakness Stakes (G3), overtaking long-time leader Ain’t No Elmers in the final sixteenth to win by a length under Joe Bravo. Longshot Sound Machine finished third, while heavy 1-2 favorite Mundaye Call failed to threaten in a fourth-place effort.
Owned by Alex and JoAnn Lieblong and trained by Steve Asmussen, Wicked Whisper paid $12.60 after completing 6 furlongs in 1:10.36.
Winner of her debut at Saratoga last summer, the 3-year-old daughter of Liam’s Map next captured the Frizette (G1) in wire-to-wire fashion, but was a well-beaten fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).
When finally returned to the races this summer, Wicked Whisper has been kept to races less than a mile. A distant fourth in her season debut in the Beaumont (G3) at Keeneland, she fared better last out when a close second in the Charles Town Oaks (G3).
“She’s been definitely interrupted by this year’s racing calendar. She was getting ready late for things and then with the cancellations, we got off track,” Asmussen said. “It’s beautiful to see her show the quality that she’s always had. Joe gave her a great trip today. There are big things in her future.”
Never Enough Time led throughout in the $100,000 Skipat Stakes for fillies and mares, her second consecutive stakes triumph following last month’s Alma North at Laurel.
Under Julien Pimentel, Never Enough prevailed by three parts of a length over 2-1 favorite Bronx Beauty, with Bye Bye J a head farther back in third.
Bred in Maryland by owner R. Larry Johnson, Never Enough Time is trained by Mike Trombetta and covered 6 furlongs in 1:10.42.
“I knew we were going to have the speed on the inside. I told Julian, ‘Assuming she breaks well, if anyone tries to take the lead from you, make them earn it. I think the rail’s really going to help her.'”