The off-the-pace running style of Barry K. Schwartz’s Nothing But Fun should suit her well when she faces five speedier sorts in Sunday's $150,000 Vagrancy Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares going 6 1/2 furlongs at Belmont Park.
Nothing But Fun returns from a lengthy layoff, something she has accomplished in the past. After her seventh-place run in the 2005 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I), the daughter of Dixie Union returned in May 2006 to comfortably win the Mil Kilates overnight stakes. That set her up for runner-up effort to a sharp Take D’ Tour in the Ogden Phipps Handicap (gr. I).
“I’m very comfortable with the way she’s been training,” said Mike Hushion, who conditions Nothing But Fun. “She’s always been a nice work horse and I think she’s the type that can run a big race off the layoff.”
After five starts last year, Hushion decided to give Nothing But Fun some time off following an unplaced bid in the Gallant Bloom (g. II).
“We wanted to give her a break so we could have her fresh and ready for the important stakes in the middle of the year,” Hushion said.
Three of Nothing But Fun’s five 2006 starts were at a mile or over and three were grade I races. “We’ll take things a little bit at a time,” Hushion said when asked what kind of campaign he had mapped out for the mare. “She’s won going a mile and a sixteenth, but I’m not really in any kind of rush to run her a mile and an eighth.”
Richard Migliore has ridden Nothing But Fun in nine of her 10 career starts, but since he is now based in California, Hushion will use jockey Cornelio Velasquez for the Vagrancy.
Joseph Shields Jr.’s Any Limit should run better in the Vagrancy than she did in her last start, the Bed o’ Roses (gr. II) at Aqueduct April 21st. After vying for the early lead, the Limit Out filly tired to fourth and was beaten 6 1/4 lengths, but had a valid excuse because her saddle slipped and jockey Rafael Bejarano lost the irons, according to trainer Allan Jerkens.
Prior to the Bed o’ Roses, Any Limit made three starts this year in Florida, winning the First Lady and Hurricane Bertie (both gr. III) and finishing second in the Shirley Jones (gr. II)
“Her races in Florida were real good this winter,” Jerkens said. “She’s trained well, so hopefully she can run back to those.”
Eibar Coa will have the mount on Any Limit, who will vie for favoritism in the Vagrancy.
Ted Taylor’s Magnolia Jackson is another early-speed type in the Vagrancy. She finished second in the Bed o’ Roses after setting the pace and returned for another second in an overnight stakes.
The 5-year-old Magnolia Jackson ran third in the '06 Vagrancy behind the heavily-favored Dubai Escapade.
Barbara Fritchie (gr. II) champ Oprah Winney had a three-race win streak snapped in March when she finished third behind California invader Maryfield after chasing the pace in the Distaff Breeders’ Cup. Since that race, trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. has freshened the New York-bred daughter of Royal Academy who is 2-for-3 over Belmont’s main track.
Mary Delaney, winner of the Madison (gr. II) at Keeneland April 11, should be near the front in the Vagrancy. Most recently she set the pace and settled for second in the Hendrie (Can-III) at Woodbine. The horse that beat her that day, Strike Softly, returned to win the Nassau (Can-II) on turf next time out.
Juddmonte Farms’ Indian Flare may be able to work out a good trip in the Vagrancy. A 5-year-old mare with good tactical speed, Indian Flare comes off a pair of good races going 6 1/2 furlongs over Santa Anita’s downhill turf course. Her last start at 6 1/2 furlongs on dirt was a victorious one when she wired the field in the listed Kalookan Queen at Santa Anita.
$150,000 Vagrancy Handicap (gr. II, Race 9, 5:15 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 6 1/2 Furlongs
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Nothing But Fun (KY), 116, Cornelio H. Velasquez
2. Any Limit (KY), 118, Eibar Coa
3. Mary Delaney (KY), 117, Garrett K. Gomez
4. Indian Flare (KY), 116, Javier Castellano
5. Magnolia Jackson (NY), 117, John R. Velazquez
6. Oprah Winney (NY), 117, Edgar S. Prado