Passing Shot and jockey Jose Santos rode the rail to a 2 1/4-length victory in the $156,900 Bed o'Roses Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III), a one-turn mile for fillies and mares at Aqueduct Saturday.
Trainer H. Allen Jerkens won the Bed o'Roses for the seventh time in his Hall of Fame career with Passing Shot, who was sent off at odds of 7-1 in a field of six.
Heavily favored Smok'n Frolic, carrying high weight of 119 pounds, nipped Nonsuch Bay for second by a head with Victory Encounter a nose behind those two in fourth. The final time on a fast track was 1:35 2/5.
Passing Shot, a 5-year-old mare by A.P. Indy
–Aucilla (by Relaunch), bred and owned by Joseoph V. Shields Jr., slipped through on the inside of pacesetting Victory Encounter in mid-stretch and pulled away to victory.
Breaking from the inside post, Passing Shot was urged into a rating spot on the inside by Santos as Victory Encounter, pressed by Chirimoya, clicked off a :23 2/5 opening quarter mile and :46 3/5 for the half. Smok n'Frolic, with John Velazquez aboard, made his move on the outside coming out of the turn as Passing Shot found room along the inside. Nonsuch Bay, ridden by Jorge Chavez, revved up from far back to just miss the second spot. Victory Encounter gave way stubbornly after completing six furlongs in 1:10 2/5.
"I was looking at about the five-sixteenths pole to move to the outside, but I saw (Victory Encounter) drifting out a little and I took my chances staying inside," Santos said. "When the hole was there, she went about her business."
Princess Dixie and Chirimoya completed the order of finish. Buy the Sport scratched after getting ill early Saturday.
The sixth win in 22 career starts for Passing Shot was worth $95,040 and increased her career earnings to $548,857
In her last start, Passing Shot was fourth, 6 3/4 lengths behind Smok'n Frolic in the 1 1/8-mile Next Move Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct March 14. Passing Shot ended a four-racing losing streak since her surprising nose victory over Wild Spirit in the 1 1/4-mile Personal Ensign (gr. I) at Saratoga in August.
"She's got a lot of experience and doesn't mind running inside of horses," Jerkens said. "She was eager today and wanted to run early. It's nice getting this win. A lot of people thought that her win at Saratoga was a fluke. This will help her out as a broodmare."
Passing Shot paid $16.60, $4.60 and $3.20. Smok'n Frolic, sent off at odds of 3-5, returned $2.60 and $2.20. Nonsuch Bay's show was $2.80. The exacta was worth $39.70.
"I thought she ran a good race," said Velazquez of the beaten favorite. "Passing Shot ran a little better than me today. She kind of hung a little bit. She never gave me that extra kick."
Jerkens previously won this race with Beauful, who won a division in 1964; Poker Night (1973); Aptostar (1988); Classy Mirage (1994); Incinerate (1995); and Dixie Flag (1998).