01/01/2013 5:03PM

Aqueduct: Nicole H completes three-peat in Interborough Stakes


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Nicole H winning the $75,000 Interborough Stakes at Aqueduct is becoming a tradition akin to “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.”

For the third consecutive year, Nicole H kicked off her season with a victory in the Interborough, making her the first filly or mare to win this race three consecutive years in the 92-year history of the race. Among the five who had previously won it twice consecutively were champions Ta Wee and Affectionately.

“It’s nice for her, anything we put on her resume I’m happy about; she deserves any credit she gets,” said Mike Hushion, who trains Nicole H for John Waken’s Gem Racing.

It was third consecutive stakes victory and the 10th win from 28 starts for Nicole H, a 6-year-old daughter of Mr. Greeley. Five of her eight stakes victories have come over Aqueduct’s inner track, a surface over which she is undefeated.

Sent off the heavy favorite at 1-4 in the scratched-reduced field of five, Nicole H was last behind a wall of horses coming to the quarter pole. But room opened up at the three-sixteenths, Nicole H shot through, and she easily outfinished Mildly Offensive to win by 1 1/4 lengths. Mildly Offensive was second by 4 1/2 lengths over Singlet, who was followed in the order of finish by Tanglewood Tale and Silent Serenity.

Nicole H covered six furlongs in 1:11.01 – her final time in last year’s Interborough was 1:10.99 – and returned $2.70.

Dominguez, who won two races Tuesday after winning four each of the previous two days, said it was his plan to keep Nicole H off the pace Tuesday.

“It seemed like every other filly in here had a little tactical speed and sure enough they all went and it set up perfect for me,” Dominguez said. “Turning for home, I was just with a handful of horse and was waiting to see which way I was going to go. Once the room opened up, she whistled through there.”

Last year, Nicole H won the Interborough and the Correction and then finished second in the Barbara Fritchie at Laurel. Hushion indicated the goal once again is the $250,000 Barbara Fritchie on Feb. 16, with a possible start in the $100,000 Correction on Feb. 2.