Two days after her very close relation Dominus wired the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch Handicap at Saratoga, 4-5 favorite Hit It Rich took a page from his playbook to post a front-running victory in Monday's Grade 3, $150,000 Glens Falls on closing day at the Spa. The Stuart S. Janney III homebred was prompted by Bizzy Caroline early, but pulled away in the stretch to earn her third stakes win, all at the Grade 3 level going long on turf.
Under a well-judged ride by Javier Castellano, Hit It Rich grabbed control from the inside post through an opening quarter in :24 1/5. The Shug McGaughey trainee maintained her tempo, with Bizzy Caroline right on her flank, through a half in :48. Then Castellano was able to give her a breather, and Hit It Rich got away with a six-furlong split in 1:13 on the firm inner turf.
The odds-on choice began to ratchet up the pace again when hitting the mile in 1:36 4/5, and accelerated in earnest swinging into the stretch for the final time. Her turn of foot left Bizzy Caroline behind. Kissable, the 2-1 second choice, was not able to close as readily in the quick ground conditions, and was in an all-out battle with Bizzy Caroline for the runner-up spot.
Hit It Rich opened up a 3 1/2-length advantage down the lane, reeling off 1 1/4 miles in 2:00, and was firmly in command through the final furlong. Still 1 1/2 lengths clear at the wire, the gray mare covered 1 3/8 miles in 2:12 1/5 and returned $3.70, $2.50 and $2.10.
"The game plan was if she could have the lead, it's perfect; if we have a target that's fine, too," McGaughey said. "(Castellano) said she broke good, was relaxed, and they kind of gave him the lead even though that filly was sitting on her. He said going into the first turn she sort of just pricked her ears, and when she came by me the first time she was just galloping along, and that was fine with me."
"She's phenomenal," Castellano said. "In a small field with not a lot of speed in the race, I took advantage by trying to get to the lead and not look back, just forward. She's a really nice horse and put up good fractions today. I'm very happy with the way she did it."
Bizzy Caroline outdueled Kissable by a neck. Bubbly Jane came home fourth, followed by Imperial Pippin and Thislilsoulofmine. Acting Happy and Cash for Clunkers were scratched as main-track-only entrants.
Hit It Rich now sports a 16-7-3-3 mark and $513,310 in earnings. Brought along in typically patient fashion by McGaughey, the May foal didn't race until her three-year-old season in 2010, when her only stakes appearance resulted in a troubled sixth in the Grade 2 Sands Point. Hit It Rich got off to a later start at four as well, opening her campaign in the summer, but ended it on a high with a victory in the Grade 3 Long Island Handicap, her first try at 1 1/2 miles.
Reappearing in the Grade 3 Suwannee River over an inadequate nine grassy furlongs on February 11, Hit It Rich missed by just a nose. But back up in trip for the Grade 3 Orchid at 1 1/2 miles on March 31, she rallied to score by a half-length. Hit It Rich had placed in her two interim starts, finishing second in the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay on May 26 and third in the Grade 2 New York on June 30.
"I didn't need to give her any time, but I didn't really like my options," McGaughey said regarding the two-month holiday. "I'd rather run in this race than the Waya (on August 6). I was afraid if I ran her a mile and a half it might take a little of the sting out of her.
"The Beverly D. (Grade 1 at Arlington Park] August 18) was the other option; I didn't like scale weights going 1 3/16 miles, so this was my only feasible option. I think the freshness really did her good, too. She really trained well, and she ran well today.
"We'll obviously look at the Flower Bowl (Grade 1 on September 29 at Belmont Park). She likes the Polytrack, so we'll look at the Spinster (Grade 1 on October 7) at Keeneland, too."
The Kentucky-bred daughter of Smart Strike is a half-sister to multiple stakes winner Spanish Mission. Their dam, Grade 3 victress Cuando Puede, by Lord at War, is a full sister to multiple stakes heroine and Grade 2-placed Cuando, who is herself the dam of multiple Grade 2 hero Dominus.
Because Dominus is also by Smart Strike, he is a close relative of Hit It Rich. Ironically, when winning last Saturday's Bernard Baruch in his turf debut, he defeated Hit It Rich's stablemate and fellow Janney homebred Data Link.
Cuando Puede is likewise a half-sister to multiple Grade 1 turf star and $2.1 million-earner Honey Ryder. This is the family of Grade 3 winners Dyna Da Wyna and Leroy's Dynameaux, and further back, Sun and Snow, successful in the Kentucky Oaks when it was a Grade 2 back in 1975.