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Will Nicole H Win Another Interborough?

On New Year’s Day in 2011, Nicole H won the Interborough, and later in the year became a graded stakes winner. On Sunday, she’ll look to commence the new year in similar fashion when she competes at Aqueduct Racetrack in the 2012 edition of the $75,000 Interborough, a six-furlong dash for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.

 

Owned by Gem, Inc., Nicole H used the Interborough as a springboard to April’s Grade 2 Distaff Handicap, which she won by 2 ½ lengths in her first graded stakes start. Following the Distaff, she went to the sidelines for seven months after suffering a respiratory infection.

 

In her comeback race, the Robert M. O’Malley on October 22 at Suffolk Downs, Nicole H pressed the early pace, led in midstretch, and was nailed on the wire by It’s Me Mom. She returned to the worktab four weeks later and enters the Interborough having posted six breezes following the O’Malley, including a 48.11 four-furlong breeze on the Belmont Park training track on Tuesday.

 

Should Nicole H perform to expectations in Sunday’s race, the dark bay will return to graded stakes competition, trainer Michael Hushion said.

 

“We wanted to point her for some graded races, like the Barbara Fritchie,” said Hushion. “We’re certainly not taking this race for granted, though. She’s been doing well and her last work was perfect.”

 

Nicole H, installed as the 6-5 morning-line favorite, drew post position 4. Ramon Dominguez, who hasn’t ridden Nicole H since her victory in the 2011 Interborough, will be aboard the daughter of Mr. Greeley on Sunday.

 

One O’Malley starter who has already returned to win a stakes is Winning Image, who came back to take the Cornucopia at Parx Racing by 4 ¼ lengths on November 25. The Michael Aro trainee faded to fifth after failing to make the lead in the O’Malley but was able to set all the fractions in her Cornucopia triumph.

 

Owned by Martin Scafidi, Winning Image will leave from post 2 at 8-1 on the morning line with Jose Caraballo in the irons.

 

Mrs. Arturo Peralta-Ramos’ Aquitania has won four straight at Laurel Park and will put her streak at risk in the Interborough, which will be her stakes debut. After beginning the streak with a victory in a turf sprint for claimers who had never won two races, the gray has captured three straight on dirt, all at successively higher allowance conditions.

 

“I tried her on grass [earlier in her career], but it looks like she’d rather race on dirt,” said trainer Hamilton Smith of Aquitania, a daughter of 2005 Champion Male Turf Horse Leroidesanimaux.

 

Aquitania, who comes from just off the pace, will leave from the rail in the Interborough. Smith said he isn’t concerned with his filly’s post position draw.

 

“She likes to sit just off the leaders and make one run,” said Smith. “[The post] doesn’t make a lot of a difference. She’ll break well enough, and she’s been push-button in her recent wins.”

 

Aquitania, the 5-2 morning-line second choice, will have the services of Junior Alvarado.

The field also includes Bold Affair, Isn’t She Grand, and Don’tgetsuspicious.

 

The field for the $75,000 Interborough:

PP

Horse

Jockey

Wgt

Trainer

Odds

1

Aquitania (KY)

J Alvarado

116

H A Smith

5-2

2

Winning Image (KY)

J C Caraballo

120

M C Aro

8-1

3

Bold Affair (MD)

S Elliott

120

H E Wolfendale

5-1

4

Nicole H (KY)

R A Dominguez

123

M E Hushion

6-5

5

Isn't She Grand (FL)

C H Velasquez

116

R R Rodriguez

10-1

6

Don'tgetsuspicious (KY)

D Cohen

120

H I McMahon

12-1

 

 

 

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