Missing Pimlico's main event, Baffert gets decision in `Susan'

8 straight years of entries in Preakness over, trainer settles for win by `Report'

May 15, 2004|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Bob Baffert does not have an entry in the Preakness for the first time in nine years, but his presence is still being felt around Pimlico Race Course.

With Jerry Bailey in the saddle, Baffert-trained Yearly Report overtook pacesetter Rare Gift at the eighth pole and pulled away to a 1 1/2 -length victory yesterday in the $200,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes.

"This wasn't the Preakness, but we'll take it," Baffert said after the 80th running of the Grade II stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

Yearly Report - owned by Golden Eagle Farm - is unbeaten in two starts this year and 4-for-5 lifetime, with the only defeat coming in the California Breeders Championship last December. She has won two graded stakes.

"It wasn't easy, but she doesn't know how to quit," Baffert said. "There is no question she likes to respond to a challenge. They can run up to her, but it's not easy to go by."

The deep main track was the biggest concern for Bailey. Fractional times were sluggish, and the final clocking of 1 minute, 52.65 seconds was the slowest since the race moved to 1 1/8 miles in 1989.

"Everybody was acutely aware of how deep and tiring the track was," Bailey said. "Nobody was in a hurry. I thought she was on paper the better filly, and if she didn't wear herself out and got the trip, she would win."

The major challenge was expected from local favorite Pawyne Princess, who was beaten only by a neck by Water Cannon while running against males in the Tesio Stakes.

"She had no excuse," said Pawyne Princess' rider, Ramon Dominguez, who had four earlier victories on the card. "She saddled nicely and gave everything she had. She was second best."

Pawyne Princess spent part of the race boxed in before Dominguez angled her outside.

Rare Gift held on for third under Edgar Prado, who blamed the "inexperience" of his mount. "She just got outrun off the slow pace," he said. "We gave it our best shot."

The race was a favorite player's delight, with Yearly Report paying $3 straight at 1-2 odds and the exacta of 6-2 returning just $8.

Baffert has run a horse in the Preakness annually since 1996 and won the race four times - with Silver Charm in 1997, Real Quiet in 1998, Point Given in 2001 and War Emblem in 2002.

He has two entries on today's program, Senor Swinger in the Dixie and Preachinatthebar in the Sir Barton.

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