BALTIMORE (AP) — Faiza was lurking just behind Hoosier Philly at the end of the second turn, and the unbeaten favorite appeared ready to press for the lead.
Turned out there was another horse that was about to leave both of them behind.
Taxed raced to an upset victory in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes on Friday, closing strong for a convincing win over Hoosier Philly and Faiza. Claimed by owner Richard Bahde last year for $50,000, Taxed won this $300,000 race at Pimlico by 3 3/4 lengths over Hoosier Philly.
“I started out in the bull rings in Nebraska with $5,000 claimers and then I met (trainer Randy Morse) and he took me to a whole different level,” Bahde said. “We have had a lot of fun together.”
Faiza settled for third for trainer Bob Baffert, who makes his return to Triple Crown racing at Saturday's Preakness after missing time while suspended. Faiza was a 3-5 favorite after winning her first five races, all in California.
“She broke well and was in a good spot. When the running started, she did not have that kick that she usually has,” Baffert said. “She ran a good race. She just wasn't good enough today. We are still trying to figure her out.”
Taxed, an 11-1 underdog with Rafael Bejarano aboard, finished the 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-old fillies in 1 minute, 49.45 seconds. Taxed paid $24, $8.80 and $4, Hoosier Philly paid $7.80 and $4.20, and a $2 show bet on Faiza returned just $2.20.
This was the first victory for Taxed since November, when she won at Churchill Downs and was claimed out of that race. She finished second in a couple significant races at Oaklawn Park — the Martha Washington in January and the Fantasy in April.
The Black-Eyed Susan was Morse's first graded victory since 2014, when Moonshine Mullin won the Stephen Foster.
“I've been kind of dreaming that she might run that way,” he said.
No favorite has won the Black-Eyed Susan since Royal Delta in 2011. Faiza had plenty of backers, though. The second choice ended up being Hoosier Philly at 6-1.
Interstatedaydream, last year's Black-Eyed Susan winner, raced at Pimlico again Friday and won the Allaire du Pont Distaff.
This story has been corrected to show Taxed was claimed out of her race in November.
Follow Noah Trister at https://twitter.com/noahtrister