12/05/2009 12:00AM

Akilina hangs on to win Pago Hop


Akilina must be a traveling fool. She raced Nov. 18 at Belmont, was shortly thereafter shipped to trainer Christophe Clement's winter base in south Florida, and then came on to New Orleans late this week to start Saturday in the .

Sign her up for a FedEx route - Akilina can ship.

Despite making a couple of mistakes in the stretch, Akilina ran to her short price and won the Pago Hop by a head. She paid just $4.20 to win, and was timed in 1:40.03 for one mile on a soft turf course.

Akilina looked at the top of the stretch like she would win the Pago Hop going away. But once in front, she started wandering. Then Dancin Perfect, rallying wide, offered a strong challenge in the final furlong, briefly appearing to have the greater momentum.

"She made the lead quite easily, but she got to goofing around, running all over the stretch," said winning rider Shaun Bridgmohan. "Once that horse got close to her, she dug in and fought."

Akilina came over on third-place finisher Askbut I Won'ttell in midstretch, causing her rival to steady. Trainer Neil Pessin claimed foul, but stewards quickly disallowed the claim.

Akilina, a New York-homebred daughter of Langfuhr, is owned by the Oak Bluff Stable. She won for the sixth time in 13 starts, and scored her first stakes victory outside statebred-restricted competition.