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Hilda's Passion too swift in Vagrancy

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Quickly recovering from a slight stumble at the start, heavy favorite Hilda's Passion shot to the lead and never looked back as she swept to a 5 ¼-length victory in Saturday's 61st running of the Grade 2, $150,000 Vagrancy Handicap at Belmont Park.

Toting regular rider Javier Castellano and high weight of 123 pounds, Hilda's Passion rolled through fractions of 22.34, 44.91 and 1:08.54 before widening her advantage through the stretch and crossing the finish line in a swift 1:14.81. Her winning time was just .35 seconds off the track record set by Bear Fan in the 2004 Vagrancy and tied in 2009 by Super Shape.

"I know the fractions went pretty fast, but I didn't feel that she was that fast," said Castellano. "I just tried to enjoy the trip and when I asked her a little bit she took off."

The Vagrancy victory was the third graded stakes win of 2011 for Hilda's Passion, who also won the Grade 2 Inside Information and Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie at Gulfstream Park over the winter. The 4-year-old Canadian Frontier filly, trained by Todd Pletcher, is now 7-2-0 from 12 lifetime starts, and with the winner's purse of $90,000 has earned $587,993 for Starlight Racing and Charles E. Glasscock.

"She was conceding from six to 10 pounds to everyone in the race, but she's a strong filly and doing well," said Pletcher, who won last year's Vagrancy with Hour Glass. "I was a little concerned 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."

The 2-5 favorite in the field of five, Hilda's Passion returned $2.90 for a $2 win bet to her backers in the crowd of 7,306.

Pletcher said the next race for Hilda's Passion would most likely be the Grade 3 Bed o'Roses at Belmont Park on July 3, followed by the Grade 1 Ballerina at Saratoga Race Course on August 27, both at seven furlongs.

Runner-up Curlina, the longest shot on the board at 29-1, was four lengths clear of Tidal Pool, who was followed by Streaker and Erin Rose. Kid Kate and Kissa Melissa were scratched.





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