Xtra Heat, who capped her nearly perfect juvenile season with a stakes win at Laurel Park on Dec. 29, began her 3-year-old campaign on a similar note Sunday, winning the $80,575 Ruthless Stakes at Aqueduct. The odds-on favorite shook off an early challenge, then held on for a three-quarter length victory over Major Wager in the field of five 3-year-old fillies. It was another length back to Montana Cat.
The win was the ninth in 10 career starts for Xtra Heat, whose only loss was a 10th-place finish in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). As a 2-year-old, she won eight races, including seven stakes.
Carrying high weight of 122 pounds and ridden by Rick Wilson, Xtra Heat covered six furlongs in 1:11.31 and earned $48,345 for Kenneth Taylor. Schatzeli came home fourth, followed by last-place School of Deelites.
Xtra Heat returned $3.90, $2.30 and $2.10. Major Wager paid $2.40 and $2.10 and Montana Cat was $2.10 to show. The winning exacta combination returned $7.30. (Chart, Equibase