05/15/2015 5:23PM

Keen Pauline all the way in Black-Eyed Susan

Debra A. Roma
Keen Pauline, ridden by Javier Castellano, wins the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes by 2 3/4 lengths Friday.

BALTIMORE – Keen Pauline came into the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico with a seven-furlong maiden victory to her credit from five starts. She left a Grade 2 winner at 1 1/8 miles.

Keen Pauline broke alertly from the outside post in the nine-horse field of 3-year-old fillies and briefly raced on the pace outside 13-10 favorite Luminance. Keen Pauline soon found herself alone on the front end under jockey Javier Castellano through an opening quarter in 24.37 seconds.

Longshot Gypsy Judy joined Keen Pauline from the outside and prompted the pace as Keen Pauline completed a half-mile in 49.09 and six furlongs in 1:13.00. Keen Pauline opened a clear lead in upper stretch and was 2 3/4 lengths clear at the wire.

Keen Pauline was timed in 1:50.46 over a fast track. She paid $32.80 as the seventh choice in the race.

"Nobody wanted to go to the lead out of the gate, so I took it," Castellano said.

Luminance landed in the second flight along the inside after settling off the pace. She tried to come up inside the winner in upper stretch but ultimately tired to finish fifth, beaten 7 1/2 lengths. Gypsy Judy, 48-1, tired to finish eighth.

Keen Pauline is a Pulpit filly owned and bred by Stonestreet Stables. Stonestreet bought Keen Pauline's dam, Grand Pauline, for $360,000 at the Saratoga yearling sale in 2006, but she never raced.

Dale Romans is the trainer of Keen Pauline, who won a maiden race at Churchill Downs in her second start last fall. Romans ran her in a six-furlong allowance at Keeneland in April in which she finished fourth, beaten two lengths. He then stretched her out to nine furlongs Friday.

"She's a really good filly," Romans said by phone after the race. "The race at Keeneland was to get her ready for today. I thought she'd run better at Keeneland than she did, but I love it when a plan comes together. We've been waiting for her breakthrough race, and she gave it to us today."

Keen Pauline's win opens up a number of options for Romans. He said he had not yet decided on a next race for her.

Include Betty, who won the Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park two starts back, dropped far behind the field early, as is her custom, and was about a dozen lengths off the lead after a half-mile. She rallied four wide into the stretch and was up for second by a half-length over Ahh Chocolate.

Ahh Chocolate, the second choice at 4-1, hopped in the air at the start to get away a step slow. She was then taken wide on the first turn.

Danessa Deluxe was fourth, a neck behind Ahh Chocolate.