01/05/2012 12:13PM

2011 Eclipse Awards: Hilda's Passion

Barbara D. Livingston

From late spring until her final start of 2011 in midsummer, Hilda’s Passion was the fastest filly-mare sprinter in the land. She did not merely win, she dazzled.

A 4-year-old owned by Clint Glasscock and Starlight Partners, Hilda’s Passion won four of seven starts, all for trainer Todd Pletcher, in 2011. When she was on her game, no one got close to Hilda’s Passion – three of her four victories, all in graded stakes, were by margins of more than five lengths. “From an ability standpoint, she was as fast as fillies get ... as fast as horses get,” Pletcher said. “She had a ton of natural speed, and was able to carry it seven furlongs.”

[MORE: Complete list of 2011 Eclipse Awards finalists | Vote for Horse of the Year and win]

Hilda’s Passion earned the year’s two highest Beyer Figures by a female sprinter (as of mid-December) – 109 in the Grade 2 Inside Information at Gulfstream Park and 107 in the Vagrancy Handicap at Belmont. Along with a Grade 3 win at Gulfstream and a Grade 1 Ballerina romp at Saratoga, it makes Hilda’s Passion a worthy Eclipse Award finalist for outstanding female sprinter. It was not as easy as it might appear.

“Around the barn, she was quiet and easy to handle,” Pletcher said. “On the track, she was aggressive in her gallops and works. She was headstrong, and with a sensitive mouth, which made for a challenging combination.”

Hilda’s Passion made her 2011 debut Jan. 15 at Gulfstream. She was taken off the pace by Javier Castellano and rallied to finish second by a neck.

Afterward, Castellano and Pletcher agreed to turn up the heat in her next start. “Her best running style was to take it to them,” Pletcher said, which she did Feb. 13 when she raced to the lead in the Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie at Gulfstream and wired the field. In her next out, she raced wire to wire again, earning a career-best 109 Beyer and winning the Inside Information by more than five lengths.

After three big winter races at Gulfstream, Hilda’s Passion was freshened. She returned May 7 with a runner-up finish in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs, followed by a 5 1/4-length front-running blowout in the Grade 2 Vagrancy at Belmont.

Hilda’s Passion misfired in July in the Grade 3 Bed o’ Roses Handicap at Belmont, but Aug. 27 in the Grade 1 Ballerina at Saratoga she delivered the most dominating victory of her career.

Hilda’s Passion sped to the lead, extended her margin through the lane, and won by 9 1/4 lengths. It was her final start. The 4-year-old filly emerged with a nondisplaced condylar fracture of her right front leg and later was sold as a broodmare prospect for $1,225,000.

Bred in Kentucky by Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Kuster, Hilda’s Passion is the highest money earner by her sire, Canadian Frontier. She was produced by the El Prado mare Executricker.

From spring through summer of 2011, Hilda’s Passion was the fastest filly-mare sprinter in the land.


Date Track Race Finish Chart Distance Time Beyers Video
8/27/11 SAR Ballerina 1st 7 furlongs 1:22.00 100 Video
7/03/11 BEL Bed o' Roses 6th 7 furlongs 1:23.80 72 Video
6/04/11 BEL Vagrancy 1st 6 1/2 furlongs 1:14.80 107 Video
5/11/11 CD Humana Distaff 2nd 7 furlongs 1:21.00 98 Video
3/19/11 GP Inside Information 1st 7 furlongs 1:20.40 109 Video
2/13/11 GP Hurricane Bertie 1st 6 1/2 furlongs 1:15.60 100 Video
1/15/11 GP Sugar Swirl 2nd 6 furlongs 1:09.60 94 Video

Hilda's Passion

Breeder: Mr. & Mrs. Theodore Kuster 
Trainer: Todd A. Pletcher
Owner: Starlight Partners and Glasscock, C. E.
Record: 14-8-2-0
Best Beyer: 109