Ridden by Javier Castellano for trainer Claude “Shug” McGaughey III, Hit It Rich won the first stakes of her career and second race on the grass. The 1 1/2-mile Long Island was her first race beyond 1 1/8 miles.
Unbridled Essence and Jose Lezcano led the way through moderate fractions of :24.38 for the opening quarter-mile, :49.39 for the first half-mile, 1:15.32 for six furlongs, and 1:41.12 for one mile. The running order to that point was the same as it was soon after the start, with Hit It Rich stalking in second, followed by Little Often Anni and Mekong Melody.
As the field approached the top of the stretch, Hit It Rich made her move for the lead, opened up daylight, and wasn’t threatened to the wire to win by 1 1/2 lengths. The final time for 1 1/2 miles on a firm course was 2:30.39.
Mekong Melody, who appeared to hang a bit on the last of three turns, kicked in late to finish second, while Musical Rain rallied along the inside to nip Hasay for third. Favored Emerald Beech, within striking distance throughout, didn’t fire in the lane and finished off the board.
“I figured on paper we could kind of dictate what we wanted to do, and that’s pretty much what happened," McGaughey said. "I thought Javier rode a great race. He let her kind of stalk that other filly. When she came by us (the first time) she was just galloping along on a long rein.
"I thought Javier won the race when he let her spurt away on the turn and open up. It kind of took some of those other fillies out of the race.
“I think this is a pretty big move forward to go from a three-other-than (allowance races) into something like this. Emerald Beech is a good filly; Mekong Melody is a good filly. We’ve asked her to do quite a bit these past couple of months. We’ll give her a little break and hopefully next summer she’ll be the kind that can maybe participate in some of the bigger races.”
Hit It Rich paid $10.80 to win for her fifth career victory in 11 starts. The 4-year-old filly by Smart Strike out of the Lord At War mare Cuando Puede won an off-the-turf allowance race on the Keeneland Polytrack in her previous start Oct. 13.