Stonestreet Stables' homebred Teen Pauline put on another front-running show at Aqueduct Racetrack while rolling to a third straight win and first graded stakes victory in the $200,000 Top Flight Handicap (gr. II) March 1 (VIDEO).
The 4-year-old filly cruised across the finish line 2 1/2 lengths in front of Centring, who gallantly tried to complete a last-to-first rally but never got near the winner. That opponent won the photo for second, however, besting Flash Forward by a nose.
Teen Pauline became the fourth graded stakes winner this season for Gainesway's leading sire Tapit , joining 3-year-old standouts Tapiture and Untapable, respective hopefuls for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).
Starting a step slow in the 1 1/16-mile inner track test, Teen Pauline hauled Irad Ortiz to the clear soon after the start. Under a strong hold, she laid down slow fractions of :25.11, 49.45, and 1:13.90 through six furlongs, with Flores Island chasing from second, two lengths back.
Teen Pauline extended her advantage to three lengths entering the stretch and was well within herself for the easy win.
"She broke a little slow today; she usually breaks in front," Ortiz said of Teen Pauline. "But she was keen and got the lead easy. I never sent her. I know she has speed and she was in front all the way easily. When I asked her, she took off."
The odds-on favorite under high weight of 123 pounds, Teen Pauline was timed in 1:45.04 on a fast track.
Entering the lane, Centring showed plenty of energy and outfinished the somewhat erratic Flash Forward, who bumped with Royal Lahaina at the three-sixteenths pole.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Teen Pauline entered off two front-running victories at Aqueduct this year. The dark bay filly scored by 4 3/4 lengths in the 1 1/16-mile Affectionately Stakes Jan. 1, then stretched for an impressive 10 3/4-length triumph in the 1 1/8-mile Ladies Handicap three weeks later.
Her resume improves to 5-1-3 from 11 lifetime starts and includes a :56.53 track record for five furlongs when breaking her maiden in her career debut at Saratoga Race Course last summer.
Kentucky-bred Teen Pauline is out of 2005 Debutante Stakes (gr. II) winner Effectual, by Carson City.
Teen Pauline, who has now banked $461,300, provided Ortiz a fourth win on the card that also included his victory aboard Strapping Groom in the Tom Fool Handicap (gr. III).
Teen Pauline's win was worth $2.60, $2.10, and $2.10, while Centring returned $3.60 and $2.60. Flash Forward paid $3.40. Royal Lahaina and Flores Island completed the order of finish. Last year's Top Flight winner, Summer Applause, was scratched.