Carson Hollow Pulls Away in Distaff Handicap

Prohibitive favorite Carson Hollow took the measure of her main rival Raging Fever in mid-stretch and pulled away to a 1 1/4-length victory in Saturday's $152,400 Distaff Breeders' Cup Handicap at Aqueduct Park.

Saskya broke a leg near the top of the stretch and tossed jockey Shaun Bridgmohan, who returned to win the final race of the day. Saskya, a 5-year-old Maria's Mon mare, was euthanized.

Ridden by Mike Luzzi and carrying top weight of 120 pounds, Carson Hollow set brisk early fractions of :22 for the opening quarter-mile and :44 2/5 for four furlongs, going on to a seven-furlong time of 1:22 2/5 on a fast track. Raging Fever, toting 118 with Aaron Gryder aboard, tracked in second throughout, moving up on the winner outside in the stretch, but she could not match strides in the lane.

Owned by Stronach Stables and Hemlock Hill Farm and trained by Richard Dutrow Jr., Carson Hollow is a 4-year-old filly by Carson City.

"You are always concerned when it's close in a race like this," said Dutrow. "She hadn't run her race since the Floral Park last October, and I was a little concerned when Raging Fever drew even with us. I told Mike (Luzzi) that she would rate kind; that she was ready to run a big race. And she did. I haven't made any plans beyond this. I want to see how the filly comes out. Maybe we'll hook up with Xtra Heat again down the road."

Raging Fever finished 1 3/4 length ahead of Bonefide Reason.

"It was a little bit of a bummer finding out that Saskya broke down," said Luzzi, who had ridden the mare to victory in her last start. "I had ridden her all winter.

"On the brighter side, I'm real thankful for picking up the mount (from John Velazquez, who ran second on Harlan's Holiday in today's Dubai Word Cup to Moon Ballad). I got on her the other morning and could tell that she was real nice."

Bred in New York by Patricia Staskowski Purdy, the always consistent Carson Hollow broke a career-worst two-race losing streak. She was coming off a second-place finish to Xtra Heat in the Barbara Fritchie (gr. II) on a foggy, sloppy day at Laurel Feb. 22. She was 13th in last year's Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I).

Carson Hollow won for the sixth time in nine outings while earning $90,000 and pushing her career bankroll to $465,370.

Sent off at 1-2, the winner paid $3, $2.10 and $2.10. Raging Fever returned $2.30 and $2.10. Bonefide Reason paid $2.10.

(Chart, Equibase)