Kenneth Taylor's Xtra Heat will make her first start as a 4-year-old on New Year's Day at Aqueduct when she goes to post as the 125-pound high weight in the $75,000 Interborough Handicap. The $5,000 auction purchase will concede from 11 to 14 pounds to her seven rivals in the six-furlong race and has been installed as the 2-5 favorite on the morning line.
The Interborough will be her first start against fellow distaffers since she won the Sweet and Sassy Stakes at Delaware Park in September. Since then, the daughter of Dixieland Heat finished second in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) and third in the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash Stakes (gr. I). She had been pointed toward the Garland of Roses by trainer John Salzman before an allergy attack, for which she was treated with antihistamines, precluded a start in that race.
Aside from the grade I placings against males in her two most recent starts, Xtra Heat also won the Prioress Stakes (gr. I), as well as a grade II and two grade III races as a sophomore.
"Of course I'd like her to win some sort of an Eclipse Award but I can't control that," said Salzman. "I don't think she should be penalized because she runs in sprint races. Right now, I'm worrying about the things I can control and that's this filly."
Xtra Heat won two inner-track stakes races at Aqueduct last winter and enters the Interborough with an impressive career record of 17 wins from 22 starts and earnings over $1.2 million.
Aqueduct will also giveaway 2002 New York Racing Association calendars to all paid admissions on Tuesday while supplies last.
The field for the Interborough will consist of:
1--Major Wager, Mike Luzzi, 114, 6-1
2--Look of the Lynx, Richard Migliore, 113, 8-1
3--Xtra Heat, Harry Vega, 125, 2-5
4--Maddie May, Norberto Arroyo Jr., 113, 12-1
5--City Fair, Shaun Bridgmohan, 114, 15-1
6 -- Carafe, Javier Castellano, 111, 15-1
7--With Ability, Aaron Gryder, 113, 12-1
8--Folly Dollar, C.C. Lopez, 114, 12-1