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OLDSMAR, FL – Blue Heaven Farm’s Starship Jubilee kept her hot streak alive with a conquering effort in Saturday’s $225,000 Hillsborough Stakes (G2) at Tampa Bay Downs.
Breaking from post 7 under Javier Castellano as the 6/5 favorite, Starship Jubilee rated kindly between Magic Star and Hanalei Moon while near the front. Ahead of her, Dynatail led Jehozacat through opening fractions of :24.22, :48.98, and 1:12.70.
Off the far turn, Jehozacat took a slim lead over a fading Dynatail, but she was soon met by a strong cavalry that was gearing up behind her. Castellano bravely placed Starship Jubilee between Jehozacat and new contender Beautiful Lover to her outside, and the bettors’ choice responded sharply.
Clearing away in mid-stretch, Starship Jubilee crossed a growing 1 1/4 lengths ahead at the wire. The Kevin Attard trainee completed the 1 1/8-mile event over the firm turf course in a final time of 1:47.83.
“I had a beautiful trip,” Castellano said. “I expected to be close to the pace. This is the type of horse you can do whatever you want – you can dictate the pace or you can come from behind. She’s such a classy horse. I enjoyed the ride and I’m very fortunate to be part of it. It looks like she is getting better and better and better.”
Beautiful Lover took second by 3/4 of a length over a late-running Kelsey’s Cross, while Magic Star was a 1/2-length ahead of Get Explicit for fourth. Wish Upon necked out a fading Jehozacat for sixth, while behind them came Lady Oxbow, Hanalei Moon, Dynatail, and Juliana to complete the order of finish.
Altea was scratched.
Starship Jubilee’s win was her third straight and fifth in her last six starts, with her lone loss a narrow second in Cardinal Stakes (G3) this past November. The Florida-bred 7-year-old daughter of Indy Wind improved her record to 35-17-5-3 with $1,498,667 earned.
“She’s getting better with age, just like a fine wine, a woman coming into herself,” Attard said. “She’s 7 but she’s been healthy, and I think it’s great for the sport when you see an older horse like her staying around and running at a top level. She has a strong following; every time she wins, I get messages from everywhere and it’s just nice to see people appreciate what she brings each time she runs. She’s been a real Cinderella story and has exceeded expectations, obviously. It’s just wonderful that I’m a part of it. Such a strength of hers that she can run from either on the lead or off the pace. It helps so much, especially these route races where sometimes the race lacks pace.”
Starship Jubilee returned $4.40 to win, $3 to place, and $2.40 to show. Beautiful Lover brought back $5.60 to place and $3.60 to show, while Kelsey’s Cross paid $7.40 to show.
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