05/14/2007 12:00AM

Baroness Thatcher tops Black-Eyed Susan


Baroness Thatcher, the runner-up to Kentucky Oaks winner Rags to Riches earlier this year in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes, is the track's morning-line favorite for the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan, one of five stakes - all of them for females - to be run Friday at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.

With Garrett Gomez named to ride, Baroness Thatcher was assigned post 3 in a field of eight 3-year-old fillies in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan, which anchors a marathon 13-race card on Preakness eve. Other top contenders in the 1 1/16-mile Black-Eyed Susan include Winning Point, most recently second in the Comely Stakes; Panty Raid, trained by Todd Pletcher; Enchanting Star, never worse than second in five career starts; and Moon Catcher, a winner of 3 of 5 starts.

The rest of the Black-Eyed Susan field is Grace Happens, Fibbalator, and Fee Fi Fo Fum.

The Black-Eyed Susan is the first leg in a two-day daily double wager that ends Saturday with the Preakness. The wager replaces the Pimlico Special-Preakness double; the Pimlico Special was canceled this year.

The Black-Eyed Susan is carded as the 12th race and is the last of four straight Friday stakes. Each of those four races will be broadcast live on ESPN2. One other stakes, the Whimsical, will be run early on the card and is not part of the telecast.

In those other races:

* Four horses entered off stakes wins are among the 12 fillies and mares entered in the Grade 2, $200,000 Allaire du Pont Breeders' Cup Distaff (race 11), with Sugar Shake, winner of the Grade 1 Santa Maria on Feb. 10 at Santa Anita, foremost among them. The others are Fiery Pursuit, upset winner of the Grade 2 Louisville BC at Churchill Downs; Kettleoneup, winner of the Grade 3 Sixty Sails at Hawthorne; and Gasia, winner of the Bayakoa at Oaklawn. Other logical contenders in this 1 1/16-mile race include Leah's Secret and Rolling Sea.

* The local standout Your Flame in Me, unchallenged and unbeaten in three career starts, faces a handful of strong shippers in the $125,000 Miss Preakness Stakes (race 10), a six-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies. Nine were entered.

* Unbridled Sidney, wheeling back on two weeks' rest, will be among the favorites in a field of 10 turf-sprint specialists in the $95,000 The Very One Stakes (race 9), a five-furlong sprint.

* New York shipper Waytotheleft, seeking a fourth straight win, looks like the one to beat among a field of seven fillies and mares in the $95,000 Whimsical Stakes (race 4) at six furlongs.

First post Friday is 12:15 p.m. Eastern. First post Saturday is 10:30 a.m.