05/05/2015 11:31AM

Fields for Preakness Weekend stakes starting to take shape

Coady Photography
Albano could start in the Grade 3 Pimlico Special on May 15.

Not counting the Preakness, 14 stakes, seven of which are graded, will be run at Pimlico next Friday and Saturday.

The Friday card will be drawn this Sunday, five days ahead of time. The Preakness card will be drawn next Wednesday. Purses for non-stakes races both days have been bumped up, with allowance and optional-claiming races worth between $52,000 and $55,000 and maiden races offering purses of $50,000.

Maryland Jockey Club stakes coordinator Coley Blind made the rounds at Churchill Downs over Kentucky Derby Weekend, and discussed some of the expected runners for Friday’s Grade 2, $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan and Grade 3, $300,000 Pimlico Special.

The Special, run at the same 1 3/16-mile distance as the Preakness, could draw Kid Cruz, Albano, Transparent, and Tapiture, according to Blind.

Kid Cruz won the Federico Tesio at Pimlico, Private Terms at Laurel, and the Grade 3 Dwyer at Belmont Park last year. Trained by Linda Rice, Kid Cruz is coming off a late-closing runner-up effort in a one-turn mile optional-claiming race at Aqueduct. He will be making the third start of his form cycle and should appreciate the longer distance of the Special.

Albano finished second, beaten a half-length, last out in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap for trainer Larry Jones. Transparent is coming off a third-level optional-claiming win at Keeneland for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, while Tapiture was third in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap for Steve Asmussen in his most recent race.

The Black-Eyed Susan, a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-old fillies, could lure Luminance, Divine Dawn, Danessa Deluxe, Ahh Chocolate, and Lady Zuzu.

Trained by Bob Baffert, Luminance was second to Stellar Wind in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks in her last start. Stellar Wind finished fourth as the 3-1 favorite in last week’s Kentucky Oaks.

Divine Dawn is trained by Jones, who won the Oaks with Lovely Maria. Divine Dawn was second in the Grade 2 Beaumont at Keeneland on April 12.

Danessa Deluxe is coming off a second-place effort in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks for trainer Jorge Navarro; Ahh Chocolate is unbeaten in two career starts, both for Neil Howard; and Lady Zuzu finished third in the Grade 3 Edgewood on turf at Churchill last Friday for D. Wayne Lukas.

Last year, Todd Pletcher won the Pimlico Special with Revolutionary and the Black-Eyed Susan with Stopchargingmaria.