BY BROCK SHERIDAN
Balpool and Frosty O Toole look to have a tall task Friday at Pimlico Race Course as the two Florida-bred fillies face the undefeated Faiza in the Grade 2 George E. Mitchell Black-Eyed Susan. The Black-Eyed Susan has a field of 12 3-year-old fillies going a mile-and-one-eighth for a purse of $300,000.
Trained by Bob Baffert for Michael Lund Petersen, Faiza is five-for-five in her career including a six-and-a-half-length romp in the Grade 2 Santa Anita Oaks going a mile-and-a-sixteenth most recently on April 23. This year, the daughter of Girvin out of Sweet Pistol, by Smart Strike also won the Grade 3 Las Virgenes by a half-length going a mile on Jan. 28 and the mile-and-one-sixteenth Santa Ysabel (G3) by two-and-a-quarter lengths on March 5. All of her races this year have been at Santa Anita.
Faiza is 7-5 on the morning line and will be ridden by Flavien Prat from post nine.
Balpool has a streak of her own coming into the Black-Eyed Susan having won a first level, $62,500 optional claiming going a mile at Aqueduct by nine-and-a-half lengths on April 7 and the $93,000 Memories of Silver over a sloppy and sealed mile at Aqueduct on April 29.
Balpool has won three of five career starts for trainer Rob Atras while earning $151,900 for owner Madaket Stables.
By Uncaptured out of Remington Rose, by Take Charge Indy, Balpool was bred in Florida by Francis A. and Barbara Vanlangendonck.
Manny Franco has the riding assignment on Balpool and they will break from post eight. Balpool is listed at 8-1 on the morning line.
Frosty O Toole just had a two-race winning streak snapped in the Grade 3 Gazelle won by Promiseher America while making her first start from the barn of trainer Todd Pletcher.
Prior to the Gazelle when trained by Mike Dini, Frosty O Toole broke her maiden by a neck on Feb. 4 going a mile-and-40 yards at Tampa Bay Downs before winning a first condition, $75,000 optional claiming by three-and-a-half lengths at the same distance at Tampa Bay Downs on March 8.
Frosty O Toole is by Frosted out of O’ Toole, by Distorted Humor and she was bred in Florida by Helen and Joseph Barbazon.
A graduate of the 2021 Ocala Breeders’ Sales October Yearling Sale where she was purchased for $35,000 out of the Stuart Morris consignment, Frosty O Toole has earned $50,430 from two wins in five starts.
Set at 15-1 in the program, Frosty O Toole will depart from post five with Joel Rosario in the irons.
The second choice in the morning line at 6-1 is the Brad Cox-trained Merlazza, winner of the $150,000 Valley of Vapors going a mile at Oaklawn Park on April 22 in what was her third straight victory.
Racing for owner Don Alberto Stable, Merlazza broke her maiden by three-and-a-quarter lengths going six furlongs at Fair Grounds before winning a first level, $80,000 optional claiming going a mile-and-a-sixteenth at Fair Grounds on March 25.
Merlazza is by Medalgia d’Oro out of Mi Vida, by Distorted Humor and has won three of four career starts with one second while earning $191,650.
Florent Geroux will guide Merlazza in the Black-Eyed Susan and they have post four.
Others entered for the Black-Eyed Susan in post position order include Sacred Wish with jockey John Velazquez, Pate and rider Jeiron Barbosa, Hoosier Philly will be ridden by Edgar Morales, Miracle with Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard, Comparative and jockey Luis Saez, Rafael Bejarano will ride Taxed, Cats inthe Timber and jockey Jevian Toledo and Tyler Gaffalione has the mount on Towhead.