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Hilda's Passion Wires Field To Win Hurricane Bertie
By Ed Gray
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – A move from an outside post to an inside post was all Hilda’s Passion needed to turn the field inside-out Sunday in the $150,000 Hurricane Bertie Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
Coming off a narrow loss in the Sugar Swirl Stakes (G3), in which she was forced to race wide from her the No. 10 hole, Hilda’s Passion ($4.80) took full advantage of breaking from the rail post to post a ground-saving, front-running triumph by 2-1/2 lengths.
The Todd Pletcher-trained 4-year-old filly, who stalked the pace before finishing only a neck behind Tar Heel Mom in the Sugar Swirl, broke alertly and was sent right to the lead by jockey Javier Castellano.
“We had the inside post and she had the most speed in the race. I saw that some of the other horses had speed, but we had a better post. I thought the only way to go was to the lead,” Castellano said. “She broke really sharp and I didn’t want to take her speed away from her. She was really good today. She felt so good about herself and came out wanting to run.”
Hilda’s Passion showed her heels to her six rivals while setting solid quarter-mile fractions of :22 and :44 3/5. Tar Heel Mom, ridden by Alan Garcia, made an outside challenge on the turn into the homestretch, but quickly weakened as Hilda’s Passion sprinted to a four-length lead in mid-stretch on her way to a dominating victory.
The daughter Canadian Frontier ran 6-1/2-furlong distance in 1:15 3/5 to collect her first graded-stakes victory. Ms. Vanenzza, ridden by Rajiv Maragh, closed to finish second, six lengths ahead of North Rodeo and jockey Eibar Coa. Tar Heel Mom faded to fourth under Alan Garcia.
Hilda’s Passion earned $90,000 for the Starlight Partners and C. E. Glasscock.
“With the one post we felt there wasn’t much option but to go for the lead. She has the speed and was able to that and then go on from there,” Pletcher said. “Last time, breaking from the outside, we tried a little something different and it kind of backfired a little.”
Pletcher said Hilda’s Passion would likely race next in the seven-furlong Inside Information (G2) Stakes at Gulfstream on March 19.
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