BALTIMORE — Army Wife pulled off a mild upset win in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes on Friday at Pimlico Race Course as embattled trainer Bob Baffert’s favored Beautiful Gift finished a well-beaten seventh.
Mike Maker, a former assistant trainer for Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, saddled the winner. Army Wife beat Willful Woman by 2 3/4 lengths for her third victory and first in a graded stakes and Maker’s first Black-Eyed Susan.
“She had been a hard-luck horse,” said Maker, who also won the Pimlico Special on the undercard with Last Judgment. “Her whole career it seems like always something happens. But today, it worked out great.”
Jockey Joel Rosario rode the winner, who enjoyed a smooth rail trip for much of the running.
“She’s a really nice horse – it seemed like she was getting really good over the track,” Rosario said. “One point she looked around a little bit, but she was really great after that.”
Army Wife, who went off at 9-2, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.63 and paid $11, $5.80 and $4.
Beautiful Gift was cleared to run less than an hour before the race after Baffert agreed to submit to additional testing and monitoring for his horses following Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit’s failed postrace drug test. Medina Spirit and fellow Preakness runner Concert Tour also passed the three rounds of prerace testing mandated by Maryland racing officials.