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ELMONT, NY – Dr. Catherine Wills homebred Luck Money fought valiantly in the stretch to neck out victory in Saturday’s $80,000 Zagora Stakes at Belmont Park.
The 7/1 fifth choice in the field of nine fillies and mares, Luck Money and Javier Castellano rated in mid-pack before taking over command at the top of the stretch, then held off the late-rallying Hungry Kitten and Mutamakina.
Luck Money completed the 1 1/2-mile firm outer turf route in 2:36.02, with a neck also separating Hungry Kitten in second from Mutamakina.
Lucky Stride, Cap de Creus, Lemon Zip, Olympic Games, Beau Belle, and an eased Cambeliza completed the order of finish.
“I didn’t really give Javier too many instructions,” said winning trainer Arnaud Delacour. “My only concern was the yielding turf, but it didn’t seem to bother her today. I was hoping she could get there. The mile and 1/2 was an unknown, but she was determined.”
Luck Money’s win, her first at the stakes level, was her second straight following a Keeneland allowance and improved her record to 10-3-3-4. The 3-year-old Lookin At Lucky filly, whose lone prior stakes attempt was a third-place finish in the Dueling Grounds Oaks at Kentucky Downs, has now earned $224,200.
“That was the trip I was looking for today,” Castellano said. “I rode the filly one time at Kentucky Downs and I didn’t know much about her, but I learned a lot in the process. … She can be in a forward position. She doesn’t need to be too far back, but she doesn’t have to be too close. I just got her into a good rhythm.”
Luck Money returned $17.80 to win, $8.10 to place, and $4.80 to show. Hungry Kitten brought back $5.20 to place and $3.40 to show, while Mutamakina paid $3.40 to show.
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