Long shot cruises to surprise victory in $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan

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BALTIMORE — Javier Castellano thought he knew exactly how the Black-Eyed Susan was going to pan out.

He couldn't have been happier about being so wrong.

Castellano broke to the lead from the No. 9 post and charged to a wire-to-wire upset Friday, her second winning effort in six career races.

A 15-1 long shot, Kentucky-bred Keen Pauline covered the 1 1/8-mile course in 1:50.46 at Pimlico Race Course to beat Include Betty by 2 3/4 lengths.

Ahh Chocolate finished third, a half-length ahead of Danessa Deluxe in the $250,000, Grade 2 race for 3-year-old fillies.

"You have to take advantage when anything happens in a race," Castellano said. "I didn't expect to be on the lead. I saw a lot of speed in the race. My horse broke so well out of the gate, I dictated the pace and I enjoyed the ride."

Keen Pauline paid $32.80, $10.80 and $5.80. Her previous finishes this year were third and fourth. The $150,000 purse for winner compared quite favorably to her previous career earnings — a mere $30,932.

Asked to assess Castellano's ride, Tammy Fox, assistant to trainer Dale Romans, said, "You have the best of the best on the horse. He knew how fast he was going. That helped a lot."

Castallano figured he would be chasing the favorite, Luminance, ridden by Martin Garcia.

"I thought that Martin Garcia had the speed and was going to dictate the pace," Castellano said. "He broke OK, but didn't send his horse to lead."

Luminance, trained by Bob Baffert, entered as a 6-5 favorite but faded before finishing fifth.

"We never got to the front. That's all," Garia said.

Baffert was looking for a rare sweep at Pimlico involving 3-year-old horses. He has two entrants in Saturday's Preakness, including favorite American Pharoah.

The Hall of Fame trainer knew he was in trouble in this race soon after it started.

"I told (Garcia), 'You just took her best weapon away from her.' She needed the lead," Baffert said. "She couldn't get it, so after that she wasn't effective at all."

Include Betty was the only stakes winner in the race and the only horse with as many as eight career starts. She paid $5.40 and $3.40 after rallying from last place.

"We really had to run well for us to get up for second," jockey Drayden Van Dyke said.

Eager to bounce back after being bumped on May 1 in the Kentucky Oaks and finishing eighth, Include Betty was looking for her third win in five races this year.

"She couldn't have run any better," co-owner Timothy C. Thornton said.

Ahh Chocolate was in her third career race after winning the first two. Trainer Neil Howard acknowledged beforehand that his horse was "lightly raced," but was curious to see how she would fare against stiff competition.

"The slow pace definitely didn't help us, but I was happy with the way she ran," Howard said.

Ahh Chocolate went off at 4-1 and paid $4.40 to show.

Pure finished sixth, ahead of Sweetgrass, Gypsy Judy and Devine Aida.

Making her stakes debut, Sweetgrass was looking for a third win in a row. Running for the first time in a race longer than a mile, she was in last place at the stretch.

"She's going to learn from this," trainer Ian Wilkes said.

After guiding Keen Pauline to an upset, Castellano came up with an encore in the Pimlico Special, riding odds-on favorite Commissioner to a 2 1/2-length victory over Page McKenney in the $300,000 Grade 3 race.

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