Wilzada Dances to Interborough Victory

(from track report)
William P. Beatson Jr.'s front-running favorite Wilzada repulsed a mild challenge from Blinded By Love and drew off in the lane to win Aqueduct's $81,850 Interborough Handicap by five lengths.

Before a soggy New Year's Day calendar crowd of 15,024, Wilzada grabbed the lead from the start in this six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares and glided over the sloppy going to win in 1:10 after setting fractions of :23 1/5; :46 2/5 and :58. She returned $5.30 to win.

A stalking Blinded By Love looked menacing entering the stretch, but Wilzada, a 4-year-old daughter of Meadowlake, pulled away with ease under jockey Mario Pino. Wilzada, who won seven of 10 starts last year with two seconds, earned $49,110 for the victory, pushing her career bankroll to $264,480. She carried 119 pounds, spotting her six rivals from 10 to five pounds.

"I looked like a fool complaining about the weights," said winning trainer Anthony Dutrow. "She was awesome today. I was very impressed with how easy she did it. It looked like the last sixteenth, Mario (Pino) had her in hand. A wet track, no doubt, moves her up. She was so impressive winning in the slop at the Meadowlands (Oct. 11). She's a decent kind of filly, but when it's wet, it makes her even better."

According to Pino, Wilzada showed a different dimension in her Interborough victory.

"She's given us more speed in her last two starts," Pino said. "The last time out, she surprised me that she was part of the pace. But today, breaking from the outside (post 9), I figured we would be quick enough to make the lead if we wanted it. I was a little surprised that no one ran with her."

Blinded By Love stubbornly held place by a half-length over Bonefide Reason. Shawklit Mint, 8-5 co-favorite along with Wilzada in the field of seven, was fifth.

Wilzada paid $5.30, $2.30 and $2.90. Blinded By Love returned $5.50 and $3.90. Bonefide Reason paid $5.60.

(Chart, Equibase)