06/30/2011 3:57PM

Belmont: Curlina returns in Bed o' Roses

Email
Adam Coglianese
Hilda's Passion, easily winning the Vagrancy, will be a heavy favorite in Sunday's Bed o' Roses at Belmont.

ELMONT, N.Y. − It was no surprise when Hilda’s Passion rolled to a 5 1/4-length victory in last month’s Grade 2 Vagrancy Handicap at Belmont Park. The big surprise was the runner-up, Curlina, who four months earlier was available to be claimed for $15,000.

Curlina will again try to tackle the beast that is Hilda’s Passion in Sunday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Bed o’ Roses Handicap at Belmont Park. And while Hilda’s Passion will again be heavily favored to win, the connections of Curlina will be hoping for another top-three finish.

“I think this is an important race for her, just to see where we’re at with her,” said Gary Gullo, who trains Curlina for Team Power Play Racing. “If she happens to run first, second, or third in here, you know that she has some quality to her. She does have a Grade 2 placing; it’s hard to get for a horse that’s been running for $15,000.”

Team Power Play, headed by NHL scout Lewis Mongelluzzo, purchased Curlina privately from trainer Stanley Hough last December. In eight starts since, Curlina, a daughter of Cuvee, has four wins and three seconds. Her most impressive race was in the Vagrancy, in which she attended a hot pace, appeared to be dropping back around the far turn, and came on again to be second, four lengths clear of third-place finisher Tidal Pool.

“She looked like she could’ve given up if she wanted to, running against a classy filly like that,” Gullo said. “But she really showed something. I think seven-eighths is a great distance for her.”

Gullo had hoped for an outside post for Curlina, but she drew post two. Gullo does get Ramon Dominguez to ride, though that means giving up some of the 11-pound weight concession Curlina gets from Hilda’s Passion, who carries 124 pounds under Javier Castellano.

Hilda’s Passion drew post 6.

The Bed o’ Roses drew a field of seven, including Kid Kate, Comic Marvel, Tamarind Hall, Spa City Princess, and Christine Daae.

Futurity and Matron return

Though the New York Racing Association’s plan to stimulate activity in the 2-year-old division by boosting maiden purses to $60,000 did not work, there were enough entries to fill the Futurity and Matron, both Grade 2 events that were put on hiatus last year and moved to the summer meet from the fall. Both races have been shortened to six furlongs from seven.

The Futurity drew a field of six maiden winners; none has raced in New York and only of whom is based here. There have been only seven 2-year-old maiden races run at this meet, three since June 24.

Threeanddonedan won a maiden race at Pimlico by 6 1/4 lengths before finishing fourth in the Victoria Stakes at Woodbine on June 18. He drew post 3 and has Ramon Dominguez named to ride.

Getupwiththesun finished second to Threeanddonedan and came back to win a maiden race at Pimlico by 8 1/4 lengths May 12.

Tarpy’s Goal, who is cross-entered in Saturday’s Bashford Manor at Churchill Downs was also entered, as were debut winners Large Kaufy, Team Six, and Jack’s in the Deck, who was supplemented to the field.

The Matron for juvenile fillies, drew a field of seven, including Born Bullish, a nine-length winner here nine days ago. Born Bullish and Hook It Up, a New York-bred who won her debut June 16, are the only New York-based horses to run.

Defy Gravity, who scratched out of last weekend’s Debutante at Churchill Downs, comes out of a key maiden race at Pimlico. The Maryland-based trainer John Robb supplemented both Good Looking Girl and Dancing Anna to the field, which also includes Say a Novena and Millionreasonswhy.

Bond decides to wait with Tizway

After seriously considering Metropolitan Handicap winner Tizway for Saturday’s Grade 2 Suburban Handicap, trainer James Bond decided to stick with his initial game plan and wait for the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 6.

He had some help from Mother Nature in making the decision.

With several days of rain causing wet track conditions in Saratoga, Bond couldn’t train Tizway the way he wanted in order to run in a race like the Suburban. so he elected to pass the race and wait for the Whitney. Bond said wet weather prompted him to jog rather than gallop Tizway for several days following a workout June 22, and thus he couldn’t get another work in Tuesday, which is when he wanted to breeze the horse.

“It didn’t come all together the way it was supposed to, so maybe the best thing to do is wait for the Whitney like we were going to do,” Bond said.

Tizway worked four furlongs in 49.45 seconds over the Oklahoma training track Thursday morning.

“He did everything the right way as usual,” Bond said.

Expanded Saratoga tournament

The two-day handicapping tournament at Saratoga has been expanded from 100 to 150 players and will be held Aug. 10-11.

There will be $150,000 in prize money, and the top three finishers earn a trip to the Daily Racing Form/National Thoroughbred Racing Association National Handicapping Championship next January in Las Vegas.

First place in the two-day tournament is worth $75,000, and cash prizes will be offered to all of the top 15 finishers. Additionally, the leader after the first day and the contestant with the highest bankroll on the second day will each receive $1,500. The entry fee is $1,000.

Those interested in signing up should call Kathy Locke at 718-659-2373 or send an email to klocke@nyrainc.com

* It’s Tricky, the upset winner of the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes here June 11, worked four furlongs in 49.04 seconds Thursday morning over the Belmont Park training track. She is being pointed to the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga on July 23.