Xtra Heat returned to her winning ways Jan. 1, winning Aqueduct's six-furlong Interborough Handicap by 5 1/2 lengths. The 4-year-old daughter of Dixieland Heat was coming off two rousing, but losing efforts, against colts in the Breeders' Cup Sprint and Frank J. DeFrancis Memorial. Back with her own sex, she carried topweight of 125 pounds and had no trouble drawing off from her five opponents under jockey Harry Vega after setting fractions of :22 3/5, :46 1/5, and :58 2/5. She crossed the wire on the inner dirt track in 1:11 flat.
With her victory, Xtra Heat, owned by Kenneth Taylor and John Harry Deitchman, has now won 18 of her 23 career starts, with three seconds and a third, for earnings of $1,323,305. She returned $2.70.
"She was much the best today," Vega said. "Obviously, the weight wasn't a problem. She ran a great race, and a great race in the DeFrancis last time out. She finished up her last quarter very strong."
"She'll probably run in the Barbara Fritchie next and then go on to Dubai," trainer john Salzman said. "Harry didn't want to get beat on her. He hasn't ridden her that much
and she got beat the last time she ran. He was looking back a lot of the way. She had a tendency last year to slow down, but she hasn't been doing that. Harry might have seen some of her earlier races and maybe he had that in his mind. I thought he rode a good race, though. She was sharp out of the gate. She had six weeks off, and that was a big vacation. It gets tougher and tougher when we run her, because we don't want to get her beat. She got beat the last couple of times, but that was against the best horses in the
world. How many times she'll run this year depends on how she is doing and how the races come up. If she tells me she doesn't want to run, I won't run her."
City Fair got up for second in the Interborough, a neck ahead of Look of the Lynx and two necks ahead of Folly Dollar. Carafe and With Ability trailed.