Gary and Mary West homebred Actress (Tapit) entered Friday’s GII Black-Eyed Susan S. a maiden and, after some anxious moments in the stretch, overcame her own inexperience to exit the nine-furlong feature with both her diploma and a graded stakes victory. The skies opened once race earlier during the Jim McKay Turf Sprint S., instantly turning the main track from fast to sloppy. The mucky going didn’t seem to phase Actress, who broke well from post 10 and bided her time in second last as Tapa Tapa Tapa (Tapit) and Full House (Discreetly Mine) clocked opening splits of :23.12 and :45.38 with Moana (Uncle Mo) hot on their heels. The 12-1 shot began to make eye-catching progress up the fence as the new leading duo of Tapa Tapa Tapa and favored Shimmering Aspen (Malibu Moon) clocked three-quarters in 1:11.56. Five wide entering the stretch, the gray displayed some greeness, failing to maintain a straight path and refusing to switch leads til late. Actress got her act together in the final sixteenth, powering past rivals and holding off a late running Lights of Medina (Eskendereya) to win by a head. Corporate Queen (Colonel John) came flying late for third.
“I always liked this filly. I told them she’s a good filly from day one,” winning trainer Jason Servis said. “I’ve got to hand it to the Wests. They were on board the whole time and a lot of owners wouldn’t be. But they’ve been great. They’re good for the business. They deserve it. They love the game. It’s not just the money; they’ve got a passion for it. It’s all good stuff.”
“We knew from running out of the six-furlong chute that she was a runner,” said winning rider Nik Juarez, who has piloted the filly in each of her three races. “I found she really liked being behind the dirt. I said, ‘Let’s send her around two turns,’ and Jason said the same thing. We knew she would get a distance. They were running fast up front and I was sitting behind. She ate the dirt up. When she made her move, she really started running and carried it on.”
Unveiled in a six-panel text at Gulfstream Mar. 19, Actress checked in second to Unchained Melody (Smart Strike), who was second to GIII Miss Preakness S. runner-up Our Majesty (Majesticperfection) next out in a Keeneland allowance Apr. 21. The homebred completed the exacta again next out behind the highly-regarded and undefeated My Miss Tapit (Tapit) in the seven-panel restricted Game Face S. in Hallandale Apr. 22 and was navigating two turns for the first time in the Black-Eyed Susan.
The winner’s dam Milwaukee Appeal was named Canada’s champion 3-year-old filly in 2009 following a victory in that year’s Woodbine Oaks, runner-up efforts in the GI Alabama S. and Prince of Wales S., and a third in the Queen’s Plate. The Wests purchased her privately after her final start for owner/breeder C.E.C. Farms and trainer Ralph Biamonte in the summer of 2011. Actress is the first foal out of the now 11-year-old mare, who has a juvenile colt named Raise the Flag (Tapit). Milwaukee Appeal failed to get in foal to Malibu Moon after producing that colt, but foaled a full-sister to Actress Feb. 6 of this year.
BLACK-EYED SUSAN S.-GII, $250,000, PIM, 5-19, 3yo, f, 1 1/8m, 1:51.87, sy.
1–#@ACTRESS, 116, f, 3, by Tapit
1st Dam: Milwaukee Appeal (Ch. 3yo Filly-Can, MSW & GISP, $1,198,674), by Milwaukee Brew
2nd Dam: Appealing Forum, by Open Forum
3rd Dam: Appealing Inez, by Valid Appeal
O/B-Gary & Mary West Stables, Inc. (KY); T-Jason Servis; J-Nik
Juarez. $150,000. Lifetime Record: 3-1-2-0, $172,150.Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Lights of Medina, 118, f, 3, Eskendereya–Medina Thunder,
by Thunder Gulch. O-Sumaya U.S. Stable; B-International
Equities Holding, Inc. (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher. $50,000.3–Corporate Queen, 116, f, 3, Colonel John–Executive Vision,
by Vision and Verse. ($5,000 Ylg ’15 KEEJAN; $12,000 Ylg ’15
EASOCT). O-Gary Barber & Bobby Flay; B-Whispering Oaks
Farm LLC (KY); T-Mark E. Casse. $25,000.Margins: HD, 2, 1HF. Odds: 12.80, 5.10, 26.20.
Also Ran: Torrent, Moana, Tapa Tapa Tapa, Shimmering Aspen, Summer Luck, Dancing Rags, Yorkiepoo Princess, Full House.
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.