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Nicole H Faces Six Rivals in Correction

Fresh off a repeat victory in the New Year's Day Interborough Stakes, Nicole H will try to maintain her momentum as she heads a field of seven female sprinters in Saturday's 73rd renewal of the six-furlong, $100,000 Correction Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Winner of four of her last five starts, Nicole H is a perfect 3-for-3 over the inner track, having taken the Garland of Roses in her final start of 2010 in addition to the last two runnings of the Interborough. Between her Interborough victories she captured the Grade 2 Distaff Handicap over the Big A main track last April, and then was sidelined with a respiratory infection for six months. In her first start off the layoff, she came up a nose short to It's Me Mom in the Robert O'Malley Stakes at Suffolk Downs on October 22.

"We thought we were going to Suffolk for a soft spot," said Mike Hushion, who trains Nicole H for Gem Inc. "Think again."

Since the O'Malley, It's Me Mom has added three victories, including a 6 ¾-length runaway score in last Saturday's Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint at Gulfstream Park. Nicole H also appears to be thriving, breezing an easy half-mile over the Belmont Park training track in 50.17 Sunday morning, her second workout since the Interborough.

"She looks great, and her weight is great," said Hushion. "She's as big as a house."

Hushion believes keeping Nicole H in New York is the best way to ensure the 5-year-old daughter of Mr. Greeley remains healthy in 2012.

"We were thinking about [going to the Barbara Fritchie]," said Hushion. "We went back and forth about that. Right now, with the problems she had last year with the respiratory infection, we thought we might be better off if we stayed home for the winter."

Ramon Dominguez has the return call aboard Nicole H and the pair will leave from the rail as the 6-5 morning-line favorite.

Martin Scafidi's Winning Image will return for another try against Nicole H after setting the pace and finishing a neck behind her in the Interborough.

A consistent 5-year-old daughter of Southern Image, Winning Image won the Cornucopia Stakes at Parx Racing on November 25 and was fifth behind It's Me Mom and Nicole H in the Robert O'Malley. Overall, she is 5-2-3 from 12 career starts, with all but her maiden victory coming at six furlongs.

Jose Caraballo will come in from Parx to ride Winning Image - who drew outside and was tabbed at 4-1 on the morning line - for trainer Michael Aro.

Returning after a few months off to make her eighth career start is Phipps Stable's Streaker, last of four in her most recent outing, the Dispute overnight stakes at Belmont Park on September 30.

With four victories in seven starts ranging from six furlongs to a mile, Streaker has turned in several sharp performances on the NYRA circuit, including a 1 ½-length score in a six-furlong optional claimer at Belmont last May for which she earned a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 96. The race was her first start in nearly a year, having been turned out after a last-of-12 finish in 2010's Grade 1 Acorn.

"She's been training good and she seems to run very well fresh," said the mare's Hall of Fame trainer, Shug McGaughey. "This came up on the radar as an opportunity to try and get her some black type, so we've been pointing for it."

Streaker has fired off three bullet workouts at Payson Park Training Center, most recently covering a half-mile in 48.40 on Sunday, and McGaughey believes the six-furlong distance of the Correction will suit the 5-year-old daughter of Forest Wildcat just fine.

"I think she may want to sprint more than she wants to go long," the trainer added.

Streaker drew post 4 under Junior Alvarado and was made the 5-1 fourth choice on the morning line.

Stepping up into stakes company after a pair of solid inner track efforts at six furlongs is Honchis'n Ponchis, a 6-year-old City Zip mare owned and trained by Dale Romans. Third, beaten just three-quarters of a length after a stumbling start in an optional claimer at the Big A on January 2, Honchis'n Ponchis came back to easily win the same condition on January 20.

"She ran so well the last time and she seems to be improving and really liking that racetrack," said Romans. "It would be nice to get her some black type in case we decide to breed her down the road, so we thought we'd give her a chance."

David Cohen will ride Honchis'n Ponchis, 20-1 on the morning line, from post 5.

Completing the field from the rail out are Love That Dance, eighth last time in the Robert O'Malley; Cinco de Mayo Mio, third in the Garland of Roses at Aqueduct on December 10; and Golden Mystery, making her first start for trainer Tony Dutrow after a seventh-place effort behind Winning Image in the Cornucopia at Parx last time out for Juan Carlos Guerrero.

 

The field for the $100,000 Correction:

 

PP

Horse

Jockey

Wgt

Trainer

Odds

1

Nicole H (KY)

R A Dominguez

120

M E Hushion

6-5

2

Love That Dance (NJ)

P Fragoso

120

B W Perkins, Jr.

12-1

3

Cinco de Mayo Mio (KY)

M J Luzzi

116

T Albertrani

15-1

4

Streaker (KY)

J Alvarado

116

C R McGaughey III

5-1

5

Honchis'n Ponchis (KY)

D Cohen

116

D L Romans

20-1

6

Golden Mystery (FL)

C H Velasquez

120

A W Dutrow

7-2

7

Winning Image (KY)

J C Caraballo

120

M C Aro

4-1

 

 

 


 

 

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