Wednesday, May 30, 2012
NICOLE H FAVORED IN VAGRANCY HANDICAP
ELMONT, N.Y. – Nicole H looks to regain her winning ways as she makes a quick turnaround Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park, heading a field of seven filly and mare sprinters in the Grade 2, $200,000 Vagrancy Handicap.
Trained by Mike Hushion for Gem Racing, the multiple stakes-winning mare opened her 5-year-old campaign with victories in the Correction and Interborough at Aqueduct Racetrack and a second-place finish in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie Handicap at Laurel Park. The daughter of Mr. Greeley then turned in a pair of fourth-place efforts, first behind multiple Grade 1 winner It’s Tricky in the Grade 2 Distaff Handicap at Aqueduct and again last Saturday in the My Juliet at Parx Racing.
The 2-1 morning-line favorite, Nicole H drew post position 3 under Ramon Dominguez for the 6 ½-furlong race.
Trainer Rick Dutrow, Jr., who won the 2008 running of the Vagrancy with Looky Yonder, has entered the duo of C C’s Pal and Smart Stride as the 5-2 second choice on the morning line.
Winner of the Ladies Handicap at Aqueduct on New Year’s Day, C C’s Pal subsequently was third in the Barbara Fritchie and then finished second, ahead of Nicole H, in the Distaff and My Juliet. The 5-year-old Alex’s Pal mare drew post 5 and will have Junior Alvarado in the irons.
Stablemate Smart Stride will be making her stakes debut in the Vagrancy, having finished no worse than third in six starts this year. Most recently third as the 1-2 favorite in a seven-furlong optional claimer at Belmont, she will be ridden by Cornelio Velasquez from post position 2.
Third choice at 3-1 on the morning line is the Grade 1-placed She’s Cheeky, who is seeking her first victory since taking an allowance at Santa Anita on December 29, 2008. In three starts this year, the 7-year-old mare was second in the Grade 1 Vinery Madison at Keeneland, third in the Grade 1 Santa Monica at Santa Anita, and third in the Grade 3 Las Flores. She will be ridden by John Velazquez from post position 7.
Rounding out the field, from the rail out, are Belle of the Hall, second in the overnight Marta stakes last time out; Kid Kate, the winner of a pair of overnight stakes at Saratoga Race Course last summer who is making her first start of 2012; and Dontbeshy I’ll Buy, third in the Distaff.
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