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OLDSMAR, FL – Godolphin homebred Micheline took over halfway home and held sway late to win Saturday’s $225,000 Hillsborough Stakes (G2) at Tampa Bay Downs
Micheline broke from post 11 under Luis Saez at 9/2 odds and settled into a close stalking position in fourth as the field passed under the wire for the first time.
Myhartblongstodady led narrowly over Morning Molly through opening fractions of :24.23, :48.80, and 1:12.41, but Micheline advanced three-wide while cornering to challenge for the lead at the top of the stretch.
Surging ahead to take command halfway home, Micheline held off a host of pursuers to win the 1 1/8-mile firm turf route by 3/4 of a length in 1:47.19.
“That was the spot I was trying to get (early), and we got lucky,” Saez said. “She broke good and we were right there. At the 1/2-mile pole, when I started asking her, she started to pick it up, and when we got to the straight, everything was about battling, and she did that pretty well. She gave me her kick and it was super. Watching her replays, I knew she could win this race, and it’s great when everything comes together so well.”
Though no match for the winner in the stretch run, Morning Molly was second by a head over New York Girl, herself a neck over a dead-heat finish for fourth between La Signare and Miss Teheran.
Counterparty Risk, the 3/1 favorite Magic Attitude, How Ironic, Court Return, and Myhartblongstodady completed the order of finish.
Queen Nekia (Main Track Only) was scratched.
Micheline’s win was her first at the graded stakes ranks and fourth at any stakes level, improving her record to 13-5-2-1. The 4-year-old Bernardini filly has now earned $665,978.
“She is definitely a fighter,” said assistant trainer Ben Trask. “She is kind of a silly filly – she’s a bad stall walker, so she lives in a little tent behind the barn. She is definitely a unique filly with a lot of talent. I was a little concerned with the outside post and whether she would overcome it. Luis put her in a great spot the whole time, and when he called on her, she was there.”
Micheline returned $11.20 to win, $6 to place, and $5 to show. Morning Molly brought back $11.20 to place and $7.60 to show. New York Girl paid $6 to show.
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