Essence Pure Heart in Winning Anne Arundel

Padua Stables' front-running Essence, ridden by a cool John Velazquez, dug in tenaciously to hold off Rare Gift by a neck in the $100,000 Anne Arundel (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies at Pimlico Saturday.

The Virginia-bred bay daughter of Gulch won her graded stakes debut for trainer Todd Pletcher as the second choice in a field of 11. She completed the 1 1/8-mile distance in 1:49 1/5 on a fast track while driving.

"I have to tell you she was game," Velazquez said. "We were hoping she would have something to fight for down the lane and she really did. She showed a lot of heart."

Breaking from the inside, Essence led throughout, clicking off fractions of :23 3/5, :47 4/5, 1:11 4/5 and 1:36 2/5. Rare Gift, saving ground into the stretch for Edgar Prado, angled out a bit for the drive and just missed.

It was 2 1/2 lengths back to Family Business, ridden by Jerry Bailey, in third. He Loves Me, the 8-5 favorite ridden by Steve Hamilton, nosed Silmaril for fourth.

"She gave me everything she had," said Hamilton, who picked up the mount from injured Luis Garcia, who was replacing Jozbin Santana. "Some days that's not enough. I really wanted to win this today because I rode so often for Mr. Hadry."

Essence, who was coming off an 8 1/4-length win a muddy entry-level allowance test at Keeneland in his last start Oct. 13, improved to 3-1-1 in eight starts. The $60,000 winner's share increased her earnings to $132,272.

Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin bred the winner, who is out of the dam Patelin's Legacy (Cherokee Colony). Essence was a $120,000 Fasig-Tipton sale in August 2002.

She paid $8.40, $5 and $3.40. Rare Gift returned $5.80 and $3.60. Family Business was $4 to show.

(Chart, Equibase)

Hear Us Roar Stays Unbeaten in Selima Stakes
Hear Us Roar remained unbeaten in three starts when she survived a thrilling stretch duel to take the $100,000 Selima Stakes for 2-year-old fillies.

Jockey Stewart Elliott picked up the mount on Hear Us Roar when jockey Luis Garcia hurt his neck in a spill in Saturday's fourth race. Elliott sent the daughter of Lion Hearted straight to the lead in this 1-1/16th mile test and kept her there every step of the way. At the top of the lane the rest of the field was poised to strike, but Hear Us Roar repelled them all, fighting Take A Check and jockey Edgar Prado all the way to the wire. She won by long head.

Hear Us Roar, the winner of last month's Maryland Million Lassie, paid $3.20. Her winning time was 1:46.24.

"I didn't have much time to look at the race," Elliott noted. "I didn't really expect to be on the lead. My filly broke sharp. She was eager today and I had to slow her down. She relaxed nicely, ran game and finished up well."

"This horse is stabled just a hundred yards from here," said winning trainer Frannie Campitelli. "We thought we would be laying third or fourth. Nobody went, so we took it. She was kind of in a race with no pace and as it turned out (the pace) was us."

The $60,000 winner's share increased her earnings to $128,680 for Maryland owner/breeder Rosalee C. Davison.

(Chart, Equibase)

Ignored Irish Colony Wins Charles H. Hadry
A winner at Pimlico two weeks ago, the Maryland-bred Irish Colony closed sharply to win the $100,000 Charles H. Hadry going away while ignored in the wagering.

The 4-year-old gelding by Larrupin' tucked in along the rail and tracked the pacesetters under jockey Steve Hamilton. When he called on Irish Colony, the bay rushed the leaders, edging away from the others as Bowman's Band and Ramon Dominguez came on to finish second. Last Intention was third. Favorite Gygistar, sent off at odds of 7-10, pressed the pace throughout but had nothing for the drive and finished fifth.

Irish Colony, owned and bred by Ryehill Farm, completed the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:43.30 and paid $28.

Irish Colony won for the 11th time in 31 career starts while running his career earnings to $293,315.

"I'm sure this is the best Larrupin' foal of them all," owner Jim Ryan said. "We're selling him in two weeks at the sale. I would love to see him go to a nice breeding farm here in Maryland."

"I wasn't too concerned about getting through up the rail," winning trainer Ronald Cartwright said. "They opened a nice spot and that was it.

"He started out in claiming races at Colonial Downs and has gotten better and better. As far getting no respect, when they keep losing bets on him he'll finally get some respect."

(Chart, Equibase)