Two $40,000, mile and a sixteenth starter handicaps exclusively for Maryland-breds led the star-studded cards on Black-Eyed Susan Day, Friday, May 17, and Preakness Day, Saturday, May 18.

On Ladies Day Friday, 8-5 favorite Bayonne didn’t disappoint, rallying from far back with Erik Ramirez and driving home a two-length winner over Side by Side, with second-choice Franstein finishing third in the field of nine. Owned by Cramer Racing LLC, 5-year-old Bayonne was the only stakes winner in the field, having won Charles Town’s Pink Ribbon Stakes last September. Her Charles Town-based trainer, Jeffrey Cramer, had taken the daughter of Dance With Ravens for $6,250 as a just-turned 4-year-old out of a Penn National claiming race on Jan. 19, 2012.

“We knew when we claimed her she had a hole in her somewhere. She is a sister to Eighttofasttocatch. Based on that family line they mature slow, so we weren’t worried about her,” Cramer noted after the Pink Ribbon win. Since the
claim, Bayonne has won or placed in 10 of 13 starts, and came into the Pimlico race off a third-place finish behind Dance to Bristol in the $200,000 Sugar Maple Stakes at Charles Town.

The Deputed Testamony Starter Handicap, the second race on the Preakness Day card, drew a field of nine and was won by overwhelming favorite Hello Lover. One of the winningest horses in the nation in 2012, the son of Not For Love was making his 2013 debut and, with John Bisono in the irons, cruised home two lengths ahead of No Brakes, with Who Dat Boy another two lengths back in third.

Owned by Kasey K Racing Stable and Brier Creek Farm LLC and trained by Robert (Butch) Reid, Hello Lover was also claimed by his connections early in 2012 (for $7,500). While yet to win a stakes race, the 7-year-old gelding has a record of 32-13-9-3, earnings of $423,055, and been stakes-placed three times in the past year, including a third in the Grade 3 Greenwood Cup at Parx Racing.

Both handicap winners were foaled at David and JoAnn Hayden’s Dark Hollow Farm in Upperco. Bayonne, bred by Dark Hollow Farm and Herringswell Stable, is out of the Nice Catch mare Too Fast to Catch. Her half-brother, Eighttofasttocatch, finished second in the Pimlico Special Stakes-G3 later on the Friday card. Hello Lover, a member of the same crop as Eighttofasttocatch, was bred by Linda Newton out of Chemise (by Secret Hello). He is a full brother to stakes winner Coquettish and a half-brother to additional stakes winners Miss Lombardi and Dress Grey.

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