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Tar Heel Mom & Hilda's Passion Meet Again In Hurricane Bertie
By Jack Will
Alex Rankin’s 6-year-old Tar Heel Mom held off Starlight Partners and C.E. Glasscock’s 4-year-old filly Hilda’s Passion by neck under the wire to win the $100,000 Sugar Swirl Stakes (G3) going six furlongs at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 15, and the two are set for a rematch in Sunday’s $150,000 Hurricane Bertie Stakes (G3) at 6 ½ furlongs.
Jockey Alan Garcia is the regular rider of Tar Heel Mom and will be back aboard for trainer Stan Hough as the daughter of Flatter gets a chance to improve on her second-place finish in Hurricane Bertie last year when beaten a half-length. Tar Heel Mom hit the board but failed to win in each of the three Graded sprint stakes for filly and mare sprints last year on the Gulfstream schedule and has posted earnings of $538,000.
Jockey Javier Castellano rides Hilda’s Passion for trainer Todd Pletcher after they rallied from fourth to just miss in the Sugar Swirl in her first start since capturing the Raven Run Stakes (G2) on Polytrack at Keeneland on Oct. 23. The daughter of Canadian Frontier had romped home an 8 ¾ lengths winner of the Bennington Stakes over a ‘sloppy’ track at Saratoga in her previous start on Aug. 23.
A big threat to the one-two from the Sugar Swirl in the field of seven will be Windmill Manor Farm’s 4-year-old filly My Jen making her first start since the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5. Jockey Julien Leparoux rides My Jen for trainer Eddie Kenneally.
My Jen won all three of her starts as a 2-year-old in 2009 and made only three starts last year before retiring to last of 13 in the Breeders’ Cup. My Jen finished seventh in the Old Hat (G3) here in early January on a ‘sloppy’ track and didn’t run again until a good runner-up try in the Victory Ride Stakes (G3) at Saratoga in late August.
A daughter of Fusaichi Pegasus, My Jen earned her chance in the Breeders’ Cup winning the Gallant Bloom Handicap (G2) at Belmont Park in late September.
Completing the field for the Hurricane Bertie are Mark and Inez Corredo’s In Perpetuity, John Velazquez; Donald Dizney’s North Rodeo, Eibar Coa; Farnsworth Stable’s Jehan, Alex Solis; and Florence Patitucci’s Ms Vanenzza, Rajiv Margh.