June 12, 2024

Gun Song gives Velazquez record fifth win in Black-Eyed Susan

Gun Song looked more like sire Gun Runner than dam Nicole H in the Black-Eyed Susan (Photo by Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club)

They ran the $300,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2) at Pimlico for the 100th time on Friday, and for a record-breaking fifth time Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez guided home the winner in the 1 1/8-mile test for three-year-old fillies.

His winning mount was Gun Song, who rebounded from a modest showing in the March 30 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) to score by 3 1/4 lengths after stalking a slow pace set by longshot Jeanne Marie.

The 2-1 favorite in the field of eight, Gun Song rated in close attendance to the leader through fractions of :24.20, :49.47, and 1:13.66. Inching closer to the lead around the far turn, Gun Song took over in upper stretch and steadily drew off to a convincing victory.

“I thought there was going to be a little more speed. Only one showed up,” Velazquez said. “It felt like she was doing it so easy.”

Owned by R. Lee Lewis, Gun Song completed the course in 1:51.39 over a fast track and paid $6.60 to win. Corposo edged Call Another Play for second by a neck, with Whocouldaskformo more than three lengths behind in fourth. Lemon Muffin, Ringy Ding, Jeanne Marie, and Recharge completed the order of finish.

This was the first win in the Black-Eyed Susan for veteran trainer Mark Hennig, a former assistant to Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, who saddled Lemon Muffin here. Lukas and another protégé, Todd Pletcher, jointly own the training record of four Black-Eyed Susan wins.

Two of Velazquez’s four prior Black-Eyed Susan wins — Spun Sugar (2005) and In Lingerie (2012) — were for Pletcher. The others were Added Gold (1998) and Roar Emotion (2003). He previously shared the Black-Eyed Susan record with retired Hall of Famer Chris McCarron.

This was the third win in six starts, and first in a stakes, for Gun Song. A winner on debut at Aqueduct in October, she finished third and second to future Grade 1 winner Leslie’s Rose in her next two starts. She entered the aforementioned Gulfstream Park Oaks following a 5 3/4-length allowance win going a mile at Gulfstream, but was a fading fourth in the Oaks after dueling for the lead down the backside.

Bred in Kentucky by Marianne Stribling, Gun Song last sold for $400,000 as an OBS March juvenile. By Gun Runner, she was produced by the Grade 2-winning sprinter Nicole H, a daughter of Mr. Greeley. This extended family includes the Hall of Fame and dual champion sprinter Housebuster.