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Nicole H Easily Captures Distaff

Nicole H picked up her third straight victory and first in a graded stakes with a facile score in the Saturday’s Grade 2 Distaff Handicap for fillies and mares at Aqueduct Racetrack.


Freshened following a pair of stakes wins over the inner track in the December 4 Garland of Roses Handicap and January 1 Interborough, Nicole H prompted the pace three-wide in third as Wild News carved out an opening quarter mile in 23.90. Claiming the lead without being asked by jockey Channing Hill following a half in 46.81, she drew away under minimal urging to prevail by 2 ½ lengths over Wild News.


“She seemed like the best filly in the race and I rode her that way and just tried to keep her happy,” said Hill.


Nicole H, the 4-5 favorite, returned $3.90 for a $2 win wager to her backers in the crowd 5,481 and completed seven furlongs in 1:23.29.


“She just dragged him up there at the three-eighths pole,” said Mike Hushion, who trains the 4-year-old for GEM Racing. “I felt awfully good at that point. Everyone else was driving, and she was just dragging him up. She was fresher than she usually is in the paddock, but when the gates opened, that first quarter-mile, thankfully, she got to settle the way you would have hoped the first time going seven-eighths against these.”


Nicole H, who began her career competing for trainer David Hofmans on artificial surfaces and turf in Southern California, is now 4-1-0 in seven starts since being transferred to Hushion and switched to conventional dirt. Overall, she is 5-5-2 from 15 starts, with the $90,000 winner’s share of the Distaff purse boosting her career earnings to $279,344.


Bred in Kentucky by JMJ Racing Stables, Nicole H is a 4-year-old daughter of Mr. Greeley. Plans for her next start will be determined at a later date.


Kid Kate closed from last to finish third, with Spacy Tracy and Qualia completing the order of finish.




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