05/19/2005 11:00PM

Spun Sugar wins Black-Eyed Susan

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Spun Sugar wins the Grade 2, $200,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico on Friday.

BALTIMORE - The third time was a charm Friday for trainer Todd Pletcher at Pimlico. After sending out Maddalena and Ashado as losing favorites in two preceding stakes, Pletcher finally visited the winner's circle when Spun Sugar won as the favorite in the Grade 2, $200,000 .

Ridden by John Velazquez, Spun Sugar overcame a spot of trouble in the first turn of the 1 1/8-mile Black-Eyed Susan before drawing away from R Lady Joy. The winner returned $4.40 in a field of six 3-year-old fillies.

"It's horse racing," said Pletcher. "It can turn you upside down, then pick you right back up. Spun Sugar, I'm delighted with the way she ran."

Over a sloppy track, Merrill Gold, ridden by Edgar Prado, took the early lead in the Black-Eyed Susan, with R Lady Joy and Spun Sugar clinging close to her outside. Into the clubhouse turn, Merrill Gold floated that pair several paths wide, but the trouble soon abated, and Spun Sugar resumed a steady pace that resulted in her third victory from four career starts.

"I got up to [Prado] on the second turn so I could get by if [Merrill Gold] did it again," said Velazquez. "When my filly moved by, she was pretty game to draw away."

Spun Sugar prevailed by 3 3/4 lengths and finished in 1:53.27. R Lady Joy had another three lengths on Pleasant Chimes, who had 14 more lengths on Runway Model. Private Gift and Merrill Gold rounded out the order.

Spun Sugar made for a very proud moment for Frank Stronach, the Magna Entertainment Corp. chairman whose company owns Pimlico. Spun Sugar is by Stronach's standout sire Awesome Again, was bred by Stronach's Adena Springs, and races under the predominantly black Stronach Stables silks.

Spun Sugar now has won 3 of 4 starts. She was second in her career debut in late July at Saratoga, then won a Feb. 16 maiden race at Gulfstream in her next start. A four-length allowance win at Keeneland on April 16 preceded the Black-Eyed Susan.

Pletcher said the June 25 Mother Goose at Belmont Park "makes a lot of sense" for a next start for Spun Sugar.

The $2 exacta paid $17.60, and the $2 trifecta paid $78.40.

The Pletcher stable followed the Black-Eyed Susan with a second-place finish from Pollard's Vision in the next race Friday, the Pimlico Special.