06/02/2012 6:01PM

Belmont: C C's Pal outgames Nicole H to win Vagrancy

Barbara D. Livingston
C C's Pal and Junior Alvarado defeat Nicole H in the Vagrancy at Belmont Park.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Rick Dutrow originally entered Smart Stride as a rabbit for her entrymate C C’s Pal in Saturday’s $200,000 Vagrancy Handicap at Belmont Park. As things turned out, it was C C’s Pal’s five rivals who needed the rabbit.

With Smart Stride scratched, C C's Pal surprisingly set the pace then reasserted herself in deep stretch to outgame old friend Nicole H and register a well-deserved neck victory in the Grade 2 Vagrancy.

C C’s Pal went right to the lead under Junior Alvarado in the 6 1/2-furlong Vagrancy. C C's Pal set reasonable fractions of 23.55 seconds and 47.07 for the opening quarter- and half-mile while well in hand. She remained clear through early stretch but appeared destined to finish second after being overtaken by Nicole H inside the sixteenth pole. But C C's Pal had enough in reserve to withstand the challenge and prove narrowly best.

Nicole H, reserved under Ramon Dominquez while saving ground just behind the leader, eased out to split rivals nearing the eighth pole. She gained a brief advantage between calls in deep stretch before being outgamed by C C’s Pal.

She’s Cheeky gradually weakened after prompting the pace and finished third, 3 1/4 lengths behind Nicole H.

C C’s Pal, a 5-year-old daughter of Alex’s Pal owned by Eric Fein, covered the distance in 1:16.10 over a track upgraded from good to fast late in the day, and paid $5.70.

“I told the jock if she breaks good and nobody else does, what’s wrong with that,” said Dutrow of taking C C's Pal to the front. “We were hoping Nicole H would come out and take the lead and we could sit off her, but if you notice, every time Ramon rides that filly he never goes to the lead. That’s why I scratched our other filly, because if we had run her, Ramon would have set up camp right outside her. It would have made it tough for our other filly to come catch them.”

Dutrow said C C’s Pal has been "like a different horse" since she drifted out and finished third, beaten a neck, in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie at Laurel in February.

“We’re very happy with this filly,” said Dutrow. “In the Barbara Fritchie she was getting out so bad we didn’t know what it was and it wound up being her foot. We got that straightened out and she’s been doing so good lately. She’s been very happy.”

C C's Pal came into the Vagrancy off a second-place finish in the My Juliet at Parx on May 26. Dutrow said he plans to give C C’s Pal some time off and freshen her up a little bit after having started her twice in just one week’s time.

raj More than 1 year ago
Yeah its beyond stomach-turning to have Dutrow, Jacobson, and Rudy; 123 in the trainers standings with 30 to 25% win percents
telfe23 More than 1 year ago
Dutrow is the best, he studied the pace of this race perfectly and as he often does made the right move,,,
Marc Estrich More than 1 year ago
You are actually serious??? I can only assume you also felt Oscar Barrera Sr. was a consumate horseman. Winning 6 races in a month with Teriaki Steak on hay oats and water?? Was Shifty Sheik worth 10 million or was Slew Of Gold worth $36K?? Just my opinion but I have to respectfully disagree. Mr. Dutrow grew up in racing but his career of violations speak for themselves. Once again I have no proof...just my own opinions.
Mike Bilinskas More than 1 year ago
I'm bafled how a guy who got a 10 year suspension is still allowed to train horses, amazing to me..
Matilde Navarro More than 1 year ago
Race was fixed thats why.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
that crossed my mind. Truly pissed cause I had $4000 WP riding on Nicole H and I was already counting my $$ when she ranged up. Also two live $500 Grand Slamm tickets on Nicole H vs $100 each for CC's Pal
Marc Estrich More than 1 year ago
It looked bad Grass. I too had Nicole to win and to finish double and pik 3. Dominguez who has horses return with whip welts suddenly goes Pat Day on us riding English style with hands and heels??? Now we got a trainer who was just suspended going for the triple crown. PS when his horses went to a detention barn for a month in 06 for the same violation his win % dropped to 10%. Right back to 20% after the detention barn 24 hour punishment. Draw your own conclusions. I don't care if attendance records are being set at the Derby and Preakness with drunks. The game is going the way of the dodo bird and it's a damn shame!!!
Marc Estrich More than 1 year ago
Maybe the result may have been different if Mr. Dominquez had turned his stick over and used his whip. I was baffled he did not go to the stick, one of his riding strengths.
Michael Infurna More than 1 year ago
I agree. Too confident
Dean More than 1 year ago
YES!!! I Agree.. Should of won that once she put head in front. Though I tell you on backside and turning for home I thought CC was long gone with those slowww fractions and back class going a distance of ground. Ramon was way to confidant once he got level..Great jock though cost me pic 4 and nice win bet!