Xtra Heat returned to her winning ways Jan. 1, winning Aqueduct's six-furlong Interborough Handicap by 5 1/2 lengths. The 4-year-old daughter of Dixieland Heat was coming off two rousing, but losing efforts, against colts in the Breeders' Cup Sprint and Frank J. DeFrancis Memorial. Back with her own sex, she carried topweight of 125 pounds and had no trouble drawing off from her five opponents under jockey Harry Vega after setting fractions of :22 3/5, :46 1/5, and :58 2/5. She crossed the wire on the inner dirt track in 1:11 flat.
With her victory, Xtra Heat, owned by Kenneth Taylor, John Harry Deitchman, J. E. Salzman, Sr. and her trainer John E. Salzman, has now won 18 of her 23 career starts, with three seconds and a third, for earnings of $1,323,305.
City Fair got up for second in the Interborough, a neck ahead of Look of the Lynx and two necks ahead of Folly Dollar. Carafe and With Ability trailed.
Xtra Heat was sent off the heavy favorite in the six horse field as she took in $481,782 of the total $512,654 wagered in the show pool for the race. Xtra Heat returned $2.70, $2.10, and $2.10, while City Fair paid $2.70 and $2.10, and Look Of the Lynx was worth $2.10. The exacta paid $6.90.
"She was much the best today," Vega said. "Obviously, the weight wasn't a problem. She ran a great race, and a great race in the DeFrancis last time out. She finished up her last quarter very strong."
"She'll probably run in the Barbara Fritchie next and then go on to Dubai," trainer john Salzman said. "Harry didn't want to get beat on her. He hasn't ridden her that much and she got beat the last time she ran. He was looking back a lot of the way. She had a tendency last year to slow down, but she hasn't been doing that. Harry might have seen some of her earlier races and maybe he had that in his mind. I thought he rode a good race, though. She was sharp out of the gate. She had six weeks off, and that was a big vacation. It gets tougher and tougher when we run her, because we don't want to get her beat. She got beat the last couple of times, but that was against the best horses in the world. How many times she'll run this year depends on how she is doing and how the races come up. If she tells me she doesn't want to run, I won't run her."
Bred in Kentucky by Pope McLean, Sr., Pope McLean Jr., Marc McLean, and Peter Feringa, Xtra Heat was sold as a 2-year-old at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic May sale for $5,000.
Trainer Salzman said the possibility of a match race with Hallowed Dreams, a Louisiana-based filly who like Xtra Heat has a penchant for winning, is waning.
"That match race with Hallowed Dreams didn't pan out; I haven't heard from the (Hallowed Dreams) people," Salzman said.