Old Tune won the Endeavour Stakes by 1 3/4 lengths on Feb 2.

Old Tune won the Endeavour Stakes by 1 3/4 lengths on Feb 2.

Tom Cooley Photography

Old Tune, Mystical Star Head Hillsborough

A strong group of 12 older fillies will contest the 1 1/8-mile turf event March 9.

A strong group of 12 older fillies will contest the $150,000 Hillsborough Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Tampa Bay Downs March 9, including Endeavour Stakes (gr. IIIT) victress Old Tune and four who finished behind her in that race, as well as grade II winner Mystical Star.

The 1 1/8-mile turf event is scheduled as race 9 on Tampa Bay Derby Day at the South Florida track, with an approximate post time of 4:45 p.m. EST. It is immediately followed by the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) at 5:15 p.m.

Old Tune, a 5-year-old Brazilian-bred mare trained by Todd Pletcher for Stud TNT, made her U.S. debut in the Endeavour last month and won by 1 3/4 lengths under jockey Joel Rosario, who returns to ride the 124-pound co-highweight from post 7. The daughter of Wild Event has won five consecutive races, including three group I turf events that comprise Brazil's Filly Triple Crown at Hipodromo Da Gavea in early 2012.
As impressive as Old Tune was in winning the Endeavour, many horsemen seem willing to test her ability to bounce back in what would be only her second start since last April. The connections of the next four finishers from the Endeavour—Appealing Cat, Last Full Measure, Hooh Why, and Blue Heart—have all entered the Hillsborough.
Also carrying 124 pounds is Cheyenne Stables' Mystical Star, who has not raced for trainer Christophe Clement since a runner-up finish by a neck to Starformer in the Nov. 10 Long Island Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Belmont Park. The 5-year-old Ghostzapper  mare was second in the Juddmonte Spinster (gr. I) on Polytrack at Keeneland last fall and won the New York Stakes (gr. IIT) at Belmont in June; she will be ridden by Jose Espinoza from the 3 hole.
Owner Martin S. Schwartz and trainer Chad Brown, who won last year's Endeavour and Hillsborough Stakes with eventual Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT) winner and Eclipse Award champion Zagora, will be represented by Irish-bred Forces of Darkness, whose 4-for-11 European record includes a victory in August in the Prix Minerve at Deauville in France. This is the first U.S. start for the daughter of French stallion Lawman; she carries 122 including Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez from post 5.
Brown will also send out Mackie Racing's grade III winner Kya One, who will be ridden from post 4 by Paco Lopez under a 122-pound impost. The 5-year-old daughter of One Cool Cat made her 2013 debut with a fourth in the Feb. 9 Suwannee River Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park after taking the My Charmer Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Calder Casino & Race Course last November in her second U.S. start. She raced extensively in France from 2010-2012.
Completing the field are allowance winner Absolute Crackers, Nani Rose Stakes winner Alaura Michele, Ontario Matron Stakes (Can-IIIT) winner Stars to Shine, and local contender Audington.
$150,000 Hillsborough Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 9, approximate post 4:45 p.m. EST), Fillies & Mares 4YOs & Up, 1 1/8 miles (turf)
PP, Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Last Full Measure (KY), E. Trujillo, 118, P J Oliver
2. Audington (KY), A.A. Marin, 118, C Cole-Rivera
3. Mystical Star (KY), J.L. Espinoza, 124, C Clement
4. Kya One (FR), P. Lopez, 122, C C Brown
5. Forces of Darkness (IRE), J.R. Velazquez, 122, C C Brown
6. Appealing Cat (PA), D. Centeno, 118, H G Motion
7. OId Tune (BRZ), J. Rosario, 124, T A Pletcher
8. Hooh Why (FL), R.D. Allen, Jr., 118, A J Granitz
9. Blue Heart (ON), J. Bravo, 118, B A Lynch
10. Alaura Michele (KY), A. Serpa, 118, D L Romans
11. Stars to Shine (KY), C. J. Lanerie, 118, E Kenneally
12. Absolute Crackers (IRE), E.S. Prado, 120, H G Motion