Trainer Mike Maker capped a big day at Pimlico on Friday when Army Wife rolled to a convincing victory in the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan S. (G2) for three-year-old fillies under Joel Rosario. One race earlier, the Maker-trained Last Judgment had led gate-to-wire in taking the co-featured Pimlico Special (G3).
Although Army Wife finished a distant third in last month’s Gazelle (G3) in her stakes debut, the form of that race has so far worked out, with the winning Search Results a narrowly-beaten second in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) two weeks ago.
On Friday, it was Army Wife’s turn. Breaking from post 1, Army Wife maintained her position at the rail most of the way and was sixth entering the backstretch. Up front, longshot Lady Traveler set the pace, followed closely by second choice Adventuring and 2-1 favorite Beautiful Gift.
Approaching the far turn, Rosario sent Army Wife through a clear path inside of Adventuring and Beautiful Gift, both of whom would soon retreat out of contention. A clear second behind Lady Traveler approaching the turn for home, Rosario soon tipped Army Wife off the rail and into the two path, overtook Lady Traveler with a furlong to go, and cruised home by 2 3/4 lengths over a late-rallying Willful Woman. Lady Traveler retreated to third, and was followed by Forever Boss, Miss Leslie, The Grass Is Blue, Beautiful Gift, Adventuring, Iced Latte, and Spritz.
Owned by Three Diamonds Farm, Army Wife returned $11 after completing 1 1/8 miles over a fast track in 1:49.63.
After placing in one of her first three starts, all on turf, Army Wife has hit the board in all five of her dirt appearances. A maiden winner over seven furlongs at Churchill Downs in late October, she concluded her juvenile campaign with a runner-up finish against allowance foes over the same track.
Prior to her third in the April 3 Gazelle at Aqueduct, in which she lost crucial position in upper stretch after being checked between rivals, Army Wife passed her first allowance condition in her season debut at Gulfstream, scoring by a nose going a mile. Her record now stands at 8-3-1-2, $288,972.
Bred in Kentucky by J.D. Stuart and AR Enterprises, Army Wife sold for $190,000 at the OBS April juvenile sale. By Declaration of War, she was reared by Tread, a daughter of Arch.