05/31/2012 4:19PM

Belmont: C C's Pal, Nicole H right back at it in Vagrancy

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Barbara D. Livingston
Nicole H has won several stakes from a stalking position.

ELMONT, N.Y. – C C’s Pal and Nicole H were separated by a nose when they were second and fourth, respectively, in last Saturday’s $150,000 My Juliet Stakes at Parx Racing.

The two 5-year-old mares come back on short rest to knock heads again when they head a seven-horse field entered in Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Vagrancy Handicap at Belmont Park.

In the My Juliet, at six furlongs, C C’s Pal and Nicole H both finished behind loose-on-the-lead Winning Image. In the Vagrancy, at 6 1/2 furlongs, Richard Dutrow Jr., trainer of C C’s Pal, will give his mare some assistance by putting a pace-setter, or rabbit, in the field.

Dutrow entered Smart Stride and said Thursday that she is in “to kill the speed.” Smart Stride and C C’s Pal will run as a coupled entry, as Eric Fein owns an interest in both. Dutrow is hoping that Smart Stride’s speed helps C C’s Pal pick up the pieces.

C C’s Pal has been successful running back on short rest. Last Nov. 25, C C’s Pal finished third in the Grade 2 Go for Wand at one mile and came eight days later to win the Garland of Roses at six furlongs.

“I don’t think this is a bad move,” Dutrow said. “She’s been eating everything since the race. She had been getting out in her races, but we think we got her straightened out. We were happy with her run the other day.”

Junior Alvarado will ride C C’s Pal from post 5. Cornelio Velasquez will ride Smart Stride from post 2.

A contested pace shouldn’t bother Nicole H, who has won several stakes from a stalking position.

Trainer Mike Hushion said he was happy enough with how Nicole H came out of the My Juliet to run her back one week later.

“She bounced out of the race faster than ever,” Hushion said. “Don’t know why, but it’s certainly the right time to do it.”

Nicole H has lost her last three starts. She fell a neck short to Magical Feeling in the Barbara Fritchie at Laurel in February. She was used up chasing the pace when she ran fourth in the Grade 2 Distaff at Aqueduct in April before having to make an early move in the My Juliet.

“I thought she ran pretty good. I don’t think it was ‘A’ race,” Hushion said of Nicole H’s last race. “She’s a big, heavy filly. Maybe running her back in a week will be a help.”

Southern California shipper She’s Cheeky will be making just her third career start on dirt. Two starts back she finished third to Izzy Rules in the Grade 3 Las Flores at Santa Anita. In her most recent start, She’s Cheeky finished second to Groupie Doll in the Grade 1 Madison over Keeneland’s Polytrack.

Belle of the Hall, Kid Kate, and Dontbeshy I’ll Buy complete the field.