Backseat Rhythm (inside) makes her move on the rail to take the Hillsborough over Elusive Lady.

Backseat Rhythm (inside) makes her move on the rail to take the Hillsborough over Elusive Lady.

Tom Cooley Photography

Backseat Rhythm Steals Hillsborough

Filly rallied to win by a nose.

Backseat Rhythm rallied in the stretch under Eibar Coa to nip Elusive Lady at the wire for a nose victory in the $175,000 Hillsborough Stakes (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) at Tampa Bay Downs on March 14.

Elusive Lady, under Joe Bravo, jumped out to the early lead while setting fractions of :25.67, :51.92, and 1:16.32 for the first three-quarters of a mile in the 1 1/8-mile turf test for older fillies and mares. Continuing to lead in the stretch, Elusive Lady got the mile in 1:39.42 and looked like a winner. Backseat Rhythm, who broke near the back of the pack, was fifth entering the stretch before she unleashed her winning drive along the rail. The final time was 1:51.43.

The winner, sent off as the even-money favorite in the 10-horse field, paid $4.00, $2.80, and $2.40. Elusive Lady held on for the place, paying $4.40 and $3.40 while Ballymore Lady finished third, returning $3.20.
The winner, bred in Kentucky by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm and Spast Farm, is trained by Patrick Reynolds for owner Paul Pompa, Jr.

The 4-year-old El Corredor filly has won five of 15 starts, with six placings, and earnings of $822,195. The Hillsborough marked her first win in three starts since annexing the grade I Garden City Stakes at Belmont over a yielding turf course last fall. She also won the Lake Placid (gr. IIT) over a yielding course at Saratoga.

Backseat Rhythm broke her maiden on turf in her third career start and then quickly showed her ability on the main track by finishing second and third to Indian Blessing in the grade I Frizette and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. She has since become a turf specialist, with five wins and three placings in nine starts on grass.