Snowdrops Aplenty in Fair Grounds' Pago Hop

There was no snow at Fair Grounds on Saturday, but fans saw plenty of Snowdrops, who captured the $75,000 Pago Hop Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

Snowdrops, a shipper from Florida for trainer Christophe Clement, was ridden by Gerard Melancon and posted her first career stakes victory. She paid $9.80, $3.60 and $3.20 as the second choice in a field of 10. Final time for the mile on firm turf was 1:37 1/5.

A daughter of Gulch, Snowdrops settled in mid-pack early. Adopted Daughter and Bonay set fractions of :23.69 for the quarter-mile and :47.81 for the half. As the field entered the far turn, Melancon swung Snowdrops wide and she stormed to the front in mid-stretch, holding off the late charge of 4-5 favorite Baie to win by a half-length.

"She broke really sharp," Melancon said. "She was all push-button. I was very happy to win on my first mount for Mr. Clement."

Clement turned saddling duties to former assistant and Fair Grounds-based trainer Bertrand de Brevedent, who received Snowdrops from Florida two days ago.

Snowdrops won for the third time in eight lifetime starts, all on the turf, and increased her career earnings to $111,473.

Baie returned $2.60 and $2.60, while Tincan Too paid $7.80 to show.

Said Robby Albarado, who rode Baie: "The distance was a little questionable, but this was one heckuva filly. She's going to have a great 4-year-old campaign."

(Chart, Equibase)