Rizzi Girl Rallies Over 'Sister' in Hillsborough

(from Tampa Bay Downs report)
All Rizzi Girl's trainer, William Downing, wanted was a shot at the $125,000 Hillsborough Stakes (gr. III) at Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday. A long shot maybe, but at 10-1 Rizzi Girl got up in the final strides of the about 1 1/18-mile turf race for older fillies and mares to score a neck victory over Sister Star.

Rizzi Girl, a 7-year-old mare, was boxed in for seven of the nine furlongs, but she was able to get free on the outside for the stretch.

Slow fractions made Rizzi Girl's late charge all the more impressive after she swung out and found racing room down the middle of the course. Sister Star resisted gamely but Rizzi Girl was too much, getting up by the neck in 1:52.59 over a course officially labeled good. Noisette, saddled by Bill Mott, was third, another 2 1/2 lengths behind.

"She likes to run on the outside in the clear," said winning rider Oliver Castillo. "I knew we had it when she kicked in when we got to the straight."

Castillo had to maneuver her four-wide to the outside, rounding the far turn to escape the box they were in, but when he did, Rizzi Girl came on like a freight train.

"She fires over this course," Downing said. "She just loves it here. If I was going to look for a shot, I'd do it here. She loves this course."

Rizzi Girl enjoys a Tampa record of six wins and six seconds in 14 outs on the track's turf course.

Sister Star, from trainer Ken McPeek's barn, and jockey Brice Blanc took the field through soft fractions of :24.96, 50.67, and 1:16.01 for the first six furlongs.

Rizzi Girl fans cashed a juicy $23.20 mutuel for the win.

Bred in Florida by Philip and Karen Matthews, Rizzi Girl is by Rizzi out of the Vigors mare, Leggy Super Model.

The win gives the venerable campaigner a record of 14 wins, 10 seconds, and seven thirds from 63 career starts. The $75,000 winner's share of the purse boosted her bankroll to $329,068.

(Chart, Equibase)