BALTIMORE -- Coming off consecutive disappointing performances, Stopchargingmaria returned to form in a big way.
Stopchargingmaria pulled away from Vero Amore in a two-horse stretch duel to win the $500,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes by a neck Friday at Pimlico Race Course.
It was the fourth Black-Eyed Susan win for trainer Todd Pletcher, who also won this Grade 2 race for 3-year-old fillies in 2005, 2007 and 2012.
Stopchargingmaria won three of five races in 2013 and finished in the money each outing. This year, however, she plodded to fifth in the Davona Dale at Gulfstream Park before taking fifth in the Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn.
Any concern Pletcher had about his horse dissipated with her dramatic victory at Pimlico.
"This was certainly her best race," Pletcher said. "To be honest, I'm not really sure why her first two races this year didn't go as well as last year. [Friday] she acted like her old self."
Stopchargingmaria, the 7-2 favorite, sat back behind pace-setter Image of Anna and angled four wide near the backstretch before driving to the finish under jockey Javier Castellano.
"It set up perfectly for us and I had a beautiful trip," Castellano said. "We figured there would be a lot of speed and I just wanted her to be in good position. At the top of the stretch, I was pretty confident."
Stopchargingmaria is named for owner Mike Repole's wife, Maria, who he jokingly says likes to shop a lot.
The filly paid $9.60, $5.60 and $4.
Pletcher didn't stop there. Later Friday, he saddled Revolutionary, who captured the Grade 3 Pimlico Special -- the fifth win in 11 career races for the 4-year-old dark brown colt.
Vero Amore ran second early behind Image of Anna and took the lead for the first time in the stretch. But she was no match for Stopchargingmaria.
"I thought we were going to keep on going, then the horse came alongside of me and we just got beat," jockey Frank Pennington said. "She gave me everything I could."
Trained by Robert Reid Jr., Vero Amore was coming off a fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 Gazelle Stakes.
Mistake in Legends
Jockey Stacie Clark-Rogers misjudged the finish line and it cost a victory in the Lady Legends Race. Thinking she had the race wrapped up aboard Graced, Clark-Rogers stood in the irons to celebrate about 40 yards from the wire. Andrea Seefeldt Knight took advantage of the blunder and rode to the finish. Her mount Zuerstgold won by a neck over Graced.