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Hilda's Passion heads to the winner's circle after winning the Vagrancy Handicap
The feature race at Belmont Park on Saturday was the $150,000 Vagrancy Handicap (G2) for older fillies and mares sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs. Only 5 went to post before the 7,306 fans in attendance, with Hilda's Passion sent off as the 2-5 favorite off her second place finish in the Humana Distaff (G1) at Churchill after winning both the Inside Information (G2) and Herecomesthebride (G3) at Gulfstream Park. In to challenge her included 7-2 second choice Streaker, an allowance winner last out and 4 for 5 lifetime, and 5-1 third choice Erin Rose, winner of her last two starts, both in allowance company and making her stakes debut here.
Jockey Javier Castellano sent Hilda's Passion to the lead immediately after stumbling at the start, and she set quick fractions of 22.34 and 44.91 while more than 2 lengths in front of 29-1 longest shot Curlina stalking her in second. Into the stretch, Hilda's Passion continued to open up on Curlina, by 3 lengths at the 1/8 pole. Curlina was drawing off from the rest of the field but was no match for Hilda's Passion, who cruised under the line 5 1/4 lengths in front in 1:14.81 over the fast track. It was another 4 lengths back to 8-1 Tidal Pool third.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 2 Hilda's Passion Castellano 2.90 2.40 2.10 3 Curlina Chavez 9.60 4.70 5 Tidal Pool Velazquez 2.90 Winning Time: 1:14.81 $2 Exacta 2-3 51.00 $2 Trifecta 2-3-5 110.00
Right: Hilda's Passion returns after the race. Her trainer Todd Pletcher said, "She was conceding from 6 to 10 pounds to everyone in the race, but she's a strong filly and doing well. I was a little worried when she stumbled a bit at the start, but she recovered so quickly. It looked as if she was at the top of her game today. I thought Tidal Pool would show a little more speed than she did. I think probably what we'll do is run here in the Bed o'Roses and then in the Ballerina."
Left: Hilda's Passion leaves the paddock before the race. Her jockey Javier Castellano said, "I was kind of worried for just a second there (at the start). She picked up her head a little bit before the gate and I was kind of concerned. As soon as the gate opened she's so quick I think she tried to jump it and she stumbled very slightly. It wasn't a big deal because she recovered herself. She's a really nice filly - I know the fractions went pretty fast, but I didn't feel that she was that fast. I just tried to enjoy the trip and when I asked her a little bit she took off."
Right: Hilda's Passion in the post parade.
Left: Second place finisher Curlina in the post parade. The 29-1 longest shot gave chase 3 wide early under new jockey Jorge Chavez, came in on the turn to save ground but was no match for the winner. The Gary Gullo trainee improved her record to 6 wins, 3 seconds, and 1 third in 15 starts, earning $149,597 for owner Team Power Play Racing.
Right: Third place finisher Tidal Pool returns after the race. The 8-1 fourth choice raced 6 lengths back and on the far outside early under new jockey John Velazquez, then put in a mild rally late to get third beaten 9 1/4 lengths at the line. The D. Wayne Lukas trainee improved her record to 5 wins, 2 seconds, and 4 thirds in 22 starts, earning $381,150 for owner Westrock Stables.
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