Making her graded stakes debut under Corey Lanerie, Hilda’s Passion ran seven furlongs on Polytrack in 1:21.38, scoring by three-quarters of a length in Keeneland’s Saturday feature. The daughter of Canadian Frontier entered the contest off an 8 3/4-length romp in the Bennington Stakes on the Saratoga slop Aug. 23. The bay filly shipped to Kentucky off of that win and had one work at Churchill Downs before moving on to Lexington.
Todd Pletcher trained the winner for Starlight Partners and C. E. Glascock. She improved to 4-0-0 from seven starts and upped her earnings to $230,256.
Hilda’s Passion broke alertly and sat just off the pace set by Platinum Exchange through an opening quarter-mile in :22.52. Racing along the inside, she easily grabbed the lead heading into the turn while covering a half-mile in a speedy :45.02, and came off the turn with a narrow lead over 73-1 Decelerator. Hilda’s Passion led by a length at the eighth-pole and had enough left in the final furlong to hold off Decelerator and Shaun Bridgmohan.
"It was the perfect trip," Lanerie said. "(Assistant trainer) Mike (McCarthy) just told me to get her out of the gate and stay out of her way, and just be a good paa\ssenger. She did everything on her own."
McCarthy saddled Hilda’s Passion, who is out of the El Prado mare Executricker. She was bred in Kentucky by Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Kuster.
"She's been improving great," McCarthy said. "A lot of credit needs to go to the (staff) in New York. They did a tremendous job with her over the summer."
Co-owner Jack Wolf indicated that Hilda's Passion would likely not run again until Gulfstream Park early next year.
The winner has made all seven of her career starts this season, including a maiden breaking score at Turfway Park in her January debut. Her other victory came over the Arlington Park Polytrack in a May 1 allowance contest.
She paid $14.40, $8.40, and $6.80. The exacta (6-10) returned $820.20 and the trifecta with 42-1 Tremendamente Loca lit up the tote board for $20,408.
Chantilly Nayla finished fifth, followed by Much Rejoicing, Negligee, Speedy Spice, Red Hot Buddha, Distorted Promise, favored Beautician, Katy Now, who is also trained by Pletcher, and Platinum Exchange.