Hilda's Passion looks for her fourth graded stakes win of the year as the clear standout in Belmont Park's $150,000 Bed o' Roses Handicap (gr. III) July 3.
Staright Racing and Charles E. Glasscock's speedy 4-year-old filly has already shown she's fond of Belmont's main track, romping by 5 1/4 lengths in the Vagrancy Handicap (gr. II) June 4 at odds of 2-5. Adding just one pound off that effort, the Todd Pletcher trainee is likely to go off at a similar price against six rivals in the seven-furlong Bed o' Roses.
The race is the ninth on the Belmont card and follows a pair of grade II events for 2 -year-olds, the Futurity and Matron. The Bed o' Roses is scheduled to go off at 5:17 p.m. EDT.
Hilda's Passion carries 124 in the Bed o' Roses, nine more than her closest opponent, Christine Daae, and 11 more than three lightweights in the field. It's easy to understand why. In addition to her runaway win in the Vagrancy, she was a dominant front-runner in winning both the Hurricane Bertie (gr. III) and Inside Information (gr. II) stakes at Gulfstream Park earlier in the year. In the latter race, she set a track record at Gulfstream of 1:20.45 at the Bed o' Roses distance.
Javier Castellano was aboard for all three of those wins, plus a pair of runner-up finishes this season in the Humana Distaff (gr. I) at Churchill Downs and Gulfstream's Sugar Swirl (gr. III) to begin the year. He returns to ride the Canadian Frontier miss again this time. Hilda's Passion, who drew favorably in post 6, has won seven of 12 starts in two seasons of racing and earned $587,993.
“Obviously, she’s a filly that is at her best on dirt,” said Pletcher. “She’s talented enough on [artificial surfaces] and turf, so she’s versatile in that respect. She’s a free-running filly and her style suits dirt. She’s been better as a 4-year-old; her races have been less taxing. I believe that’s due to her physical maturity more than anything.”
Christine Daae, on the comeback trail for trainer Patrick Biancone, starts on the far outside. Kona Stables' 4-year-old daughter of Giant's Causeway has raced just once in 2011, winning a seven-furlong optional claiming allowance heat at Gulfstream by four lengths April 22. That was her first start since finishing sixth in Saratoga's Test Stakes (gr. I) last August. Joe Bravo retains the mount.
Team Power Play Racing's Curlina ran second all the way around to Hilda's Passion in the Vagrancy, her stakes debut for trainer Gary Gullo. The 4-year-old Cuvee filly had won four in a row prior to that against allowance and claiming company.
“This race could be a turning point for her,” said Gullo. “She might have been kind of a late bloomer. She’s always had the look of a real nice filly and she’s finally starting to put it all together now. With these fillies sometimes they get good for two or three months and then go backwards, but fingers crossed, she’ll go forward.”
Juddmonte Farms' Comic Marvel returns to dirt for trainer Bill Mott after a fourth-place finish in Belmont's Nonsuch Bay Stakes June 8. The 4-year-old daughter of Distorted Humor began her six-race career with consecutive wins on dirt.
Kid Kate, trained by Chad Brown for Dell Ridge Farm, won the Correction Stakes on the inner track at Aqueduct in January and most recently finished third in an overnight stakes at Belmont.
Spa City Princess was placed third in the one-mile Shuvee Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont May 21.
$150,000 Bed o' Roses Handicap (gr. III, Race 9, 5:17 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 7 Furlongs
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Kid Kate (KY), E Castro, 114, C C Brown
2. Curlina (KY), R A Dominguez, 113, G P Gullo
3. Comic Marvel (KY), J R Velazquez, 114, W I Mott
4. Tamarind Hall (FL), D Cohen, 113, J C Englehart
5. Spa City Princess (NY), J F Chavez, 113, P J Kelly
6. Hilda's Passion (KY), J Castellano, 124, T A Pletcher
7. Christine Daae (KY), J Bravo, 115, P L Biancone