A new jockey, weight break and aluminum pads for her sore feet helped make favored Sensibly Chic a winner in the $150,000 Vagrancy Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares Sunday at Belmont Park.
With John Velazquez aboard for the first time, Sensibly Chic shot past the leaders approaching the stretch run of the 6 1/2-furlong event and pulled away for a 3 3/4-length victory over her rival Bank Audit, the second choice in the field. The final time was 1:16 1/5.
Sensibly Chic finished second to Bank Audit in her last two starts. In their last meeting, Bank Audit came from well back to nip Sensibly Chic and Cornelio Velasquez by a nose in the Genuine Risk Handicap (gr. II) May 14.
Saturday, Bank Audit, ridden again by Norberto Arroyo, carried top weight of 120 pounds, three more than she shouldered in the Genuine Risk and four more than Sensibly Chic.
Although she bobbled a bit at the start, Sensibly Chic took a stalker's position from the outside, as Smokey Glacken and Ender's Sister battled on the lead on a fast pace of :22 4/5 and :45. As they neared the stretch, Sensibly Chic came with a three-wide rush under Velazquez.
"We were sitting in a good spot," Velazquez said. "I didn't want to get her caught up in a speed duel. She broke and I gave her a chance to get going. At three-eighths pole I said, `It's time, Mommy,' and she took off."
The 5-year-old Distorted Humor
mare, trained since last fall by Tim Tullock Jr., won for the eighth time in 19 starts. She earned $90,000 for owner Lois S. Nervitt and has now banked $452,477. Sensibly Chic had run second in three consecutive races, all grade II stakes.
"She's been working on a good race," said Tullock. "The last couple of times we've been up here, we've gotten a little unlucky. In her last race, she was close to a ridiculous pace. She got a good set up today. I'm glad the chips fell the right way for us today. She wears aluminum pads because she has sensitive feet. She has a thin-soled foot. The pads just keep her feet off the ground a little more.
"We're going to give the Summit of Speed a try," referring to the $500,000 Princess Rooney (gr. II) July 9 at Calder Race Course. "We'll also take a look at the Saratoga stakes schedule. She could run up there in the Ballerina, although I don't think seven furlongs is her best distance."
McMahon Thoroughbreds and Win Star Farm LLC bred Sensibly Chic in New York. She was produced by the Hero's Honor mare Rajana's Honor.
Sensibly Chic paid $7.10, $3.50 and $2.60. Bank Audit, who was looking for her fourth win in five starts, returned $3.50 and $2.70. It was three-quarters of a length back to Ender's Sister and Richard Migliore, who paid $5.40 to show.
Farther back were Baldomera, Emerald Springs, Smokey Glacken, Forty Moves, Friendly Michelle and Traci Girl. Pleasant Home scratched.