Four-time graded stakes winner Dream Rush has proven she is the one to beat in the Vagrancy Handicap.<br><a target="blank" href="">Order This Photo</a>

Four-time graded stakes winner Dream Rush has proven she is the one to beat in the Vagrancy Handicap.
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Vagrancy: Dream Rush Makes Season Debut

The multiple graded stakes winner last ran in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint

Four-time graded stakes winner Dream Rush has proven she is the one to beat in the $150,000 Vagrancy Handicap (gr. II) May 25 at Belmont Park, but the 4-year-old Wild Rush filly must answer one major question: how will she respond to a nearly seven-month layoff?

Dream Rush will face five rivals in the 6 1/2-furlong Vagrancy, which is run on the main track. Her stiffest challenge figures to be Baroness Thatcher, who fell inches shy of winning the Humana Distaff Stakes (gr. I) on Kentucky Derby day May 3. Also included in the short field is Allen Jerkens trainee Any Limit, a 5-year-old mare who finished third in last year’s Vagrancy.

Owned by Minor Stables, Dream Rush has been nothing short of exceptional in her brief career. The dark bay filly, who was purchased for a whopping $3.3 million at the 2007 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November mixed sale, has tallied a 6-2-0 record from nine starts. Her only off-the-board outing came in her most recent effort, the Oct. 26 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, where she finished fifth on the slop at Monmouth Park. She was set to make her season debut March 22 in the Distaff Handicap (gr. II) at Aqueduct, but a minor injury kept her out of action until now.

"She racked up her hind leg, and we had to be careful with her for about a month or so,” said trainer Rick Violette. “But she’s been doing great and training great. We’re looking forward to her getting back to the races. She’s matured since her 3-year-old campaign."

Dream Rush won four graded stakes as a sophomore, including the Prioress and Test Stakes, both grade I events. Dream Rush has proven that she loves Belmont too, as she is 3-1-0 from four starts there, including a 9 1/4-length romp in the seven-furlong Nassau Breeders’ Cup Stakes (gr. II) last May.

Bred in Kentucky by James Petrey Jr., Dream Rush is out of the Unbridled mare Turbo Dream. She is the 120-pound heavyweight, spotting the rest of the field three to eight pounds. Regular rider Eibar Coa will get the call and will likely send the speedy filly right to the lead. She has gone wire-to-wire in all four of her graded stakes victories.

Zayat Stables’ Baroness Thatcher was third to Dream Rush in last year’s Test, but the 4-year-old Johannesburg filly comes into the Vagrancy in terrific form. She circled five-wide under John Velazquez in the Humana Distaff, running down talented Hystericalady in the final strides. Unfortunately for her, Intangaroo was also flying late, nipping the Bill Mott trainee by a head.

Baroness Thatcher has been graded stakes-placed seven times in her career, including losing by a nose in last year’s Ballerina Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga. Her lone graded stakes score came in the Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita in January 2007. Velazquez will ride once again.

Joseph Shields Jr.’s Any Limit was third to Indian Flare in the 2007 Vagrancy, and then was shelved for 11 months before making her 5-year-old debut May 17 in the Upper Noosh Stakes on the Belmont turf. The daughter of Limit Out also finished third in that one, beaten 3 3/4 lengths. Last year, Any Limit won the First Lady and Hurricane Bertie Handicaps (both gr. III) at Gulfstream Park.

Sangrita, Bedside Story, and Looky Yonder round of the field. The latter two are trained by brothers Tony and Rick Dutrow, respectively.

$150,000 Vagrancy Handicap (gr. II, Race 9, 5:30 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 6 1/2 Furlongs
1. Bedside Story (KY), 112, Kent J. Desormeaux
2. Sangrita (KY), 115, Edgar S. Prado
3. Dream Rush (KY), 120, Eibar Coa
4. Any Limit (KY), 116, Cornelio H. Velasquez
5. Looky Yonder (KY), 115, Garrett K. Gomez
6. Baroness Thatcher (KY), 117, John R. Velazquez