Frequent Flyer Hattiesburg Closes for Azalea BC Win

Nelson Bunker Hunt's Hattiesburg, 10th after the opening quarter-mile run in :22.33, rallied while wide on the turn to win Saturday $250,000 Azalea Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. III), the first graded stakes race on Calder's "Summit of Speed" card.

Under Mark Guidry, Hattiesburg completed the six-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies in 1:11.81 on a fast track to improve her career record to seven wins from 11 starts.

"She ran real well. You never know how the rest of the day is going to turn out, but she was the one I came for," said Guidry. "She exploded the last quarter of a mile – she came running. She tries to get out a little bit, so we didn't mind losing a little ground letting her be where she wants to be. She ran very well and I'm very grateful that Mr. Amoss (trainer Tom Amoss) gave me another shot back on her."

The win, her first in a graded stakes, marks her fifth consecutive win, with the last four of those coming in stakes races. During her streak, Hattiesburg has notched victories at five different tracks. Hattiesburg (Mutakddim--Reason to Act, by Bold Reason) was bred in Maryland by Michael G. Marenchic.

"This was a big step up for her," said Amoss. "She's been on a four-race win streak and sometimes they get their confidence built up. She's strictly a one-run sprinter."

Southern Tour finished second, a half-length behind the winner. 17-10 favorite Spanish Glitter set the early pace before finishing third, 2 3/4 lengths behind Southern Tour. Lucette, Cheryl P., Ousstoura, Xtreme Bid, Valid Forbes, Silk Concorde, I Am Nifty, and Morning Sun completed the order of finish.

Hattiesburg returned $10.80, $5.40, and $3. Southern Tour paid $7 and $3.60. Spanish Glitter returned $2.40. The winning exacta combination paid $68.20.

The Azalea Breeders' Cup was the second leg of an all-stakes pick-four wager. In the first leg, Texas Glitter sat just off the pace and rallied to win the $100,000 Calder Turf Sprint Handicap, completing the five furlongs in :56.91 on good turf. Sejm's Madness closed well to finish a length back, with pacesetter Kipperscope settling for third in the seven-horse field. Favored Morluc finished fourth, a neck ahead of second wagering choice Honorable Pic. Vinnie's Boy and Wild Hits completed the order of finish. (Chart, Equibase)