Appearing hopelessly buried near the rail in mid-stretch, Hessonite courageously responded to jockey Junior Alvarado's direction, angling out five wide for room where the New York-bred quickly accelerated to win the Beaugay Stakes (gr. III) by three-quarters of a length May 4 at Belmont Park (VIDEO) .
With the late surge, the 5-year-old Freud mare nailed down the first graded stakes victory of her career. Racing for William Punk Jr. and Philip DiLeo, Hessonite has won eight stakes races in her career and was New York's state-bred older female champion last year.
Trained by David Donk, Hessonite was making her seasonal debut in the Beaugay after wrapping up 2012 with an Oct. 20 victory on the Belmont turf against other New York-bred females in the Ticonderoga Stakes.
Hessonite completed the 1 1/16-mile race on firm turf in 1:40.82. He improved to 10 wins from 19 starts with three runner-up finishes and a third-place effort and earnings of $803,310. Bred by Berkshire Stud and Waterville Lake Stables, Hessonite is out of the Manila mare Lakab.
"She looks great, that’s the best she’s ever looked, so hopefully it’s the right move bringing her back at age five for another year," Donk said. "It was important to win a graded race today, and maybe onto bigger and better things."
Third along the rail as Suroof led through measured fractions of :25.05, :48.94 and 1:12.51, Hessonite found herself behind a wall of horses as favored Dream Peace took the lead in the stretch. Taken to the outside with less than a furlong remaining, Hessonite responded with a rousing run.
"All I can tell you is that she was unbelievable," said Alvarado, who won the Fort Marcy Stakes (gr. IIIT) two races earlier aboard Lubash. "Once she was clear, she took off right away, like she was coming out of the gate. It was amazing."
Hessonite, who was sixth in last year's Beaugay, returned $9.90, $4.80, and $2.40 as the second choice in the field of six. Alto Racing's Peace Preserver returned $5.60 and $2.90 to show, while Etreham Farm's Dream Peace, sent off as the 3-4 favorite for trainer Chad Brown, finished third and returned $2.10 to show.