05/18/2013 10:46AM

Black-Eyed Susan winner Fiftyshadesofhay will point to the Alabama

Barbara D. Livingston
Fiftyshadesofhay (left) overtakes Marathon Lady in deep stretch of the Black-Eyed Susan.

BALTIMORE - Trainer Bob Baffert said that Black-Eyed Susan winner Fiftyshadesofhay will be heading home to Southern California next week, but she will definitely be back out on the road this summer with the Grade 1 Alabama at Saratoga being her next major objective.

“She’s just maturing, she’ll get better with age,” Baffert said Saturday morning, the day after Fiftyshadesofhay rallied from well off the pace to win the Grade 2, $500,000 Black-Eyed Susan by a neck over Marathon Lady. “Distance is not a problem for her. The mile and a quarter will be good for her.”

Fiftyshadesofhay showed a new dimension winning the Black-Eyed Susan from about six lengths off the pace to nip Marathon Lady, who had a 3 1/2-length lead in mid-stretch. In winning the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel in January, Fiftyshadesofhay dueled on the lead. She was coming off two losses to Beholder in Grade 1 stakes at Santa Anita.

Baffert put blinkers on Fiftyshadesofhay for the Black-Eyed Susan and thought they helped the daughter of Pulpit settle and focus.

“The little blinker helped her to settle, she didn’t have to chase or keep up close,” Baffert said. “She finished well. She’s really maturing. First couple of times she used to go to the gate washed out, she was mental mess.”

Fiftyshadesofhay, who ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:52.73 over a fast but dull main track, earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 92 for her Black-Eyed Susan win. She could run next in the Grade 2, $150,000 Hollywood Oaks on June 22 at Betfair Hollywood Park where she won a maiden race last November.

Fiftyshadesofhay is one of three talented 3-year-old fillies in Baffert’s barn. All three are owned by the triumvirate of Mike Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman.

Midnight Lucky, the dominant winner of the Sunland Park Oaks, is being pointed to the Grade 1 Acorn at Belmont Park on May 27. She is coming off a disappointing fifth-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks on May 3.

Executiveprivilege, a multiple Grade 1 winner at 2, is working her way back to the races after dealing with foot issues in Southern California. Baffert said Executiveprivilege, like Midnight Lucky, could be aimed at the Grade 1 Test at Saratoga in August. Executiveprivilege has not run since finishing fourth in the Hollywood Starlet last December.

“I never had a year where I had this many good fillies or even this many good horses,” said Pegram, who owned Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Real Quiet as well as the champion filly Silverbulletday.

Meanwhile, Black-Eyed Susan runner-up Marathon Lady came out of her runner-up finish in the Black-Eyed Susan “super” according to trainer Steve Hobby. Marathon Lady vanned back to Churchill Downs Saturday morning and Hobby said he had not mapped out her next start.

“There are several choices,” he said, including the Grade 3, $200,000 Iowa Oaks at Prairie Meadows on June 29.