06/04/2011 6:18PM

Belmont: Hilda's Passion dominant in Vagrancy

Email
Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Hilda's Passion, with Javier Castellano riding, wins the Vagrancy.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Hilda's Passion reasserted herself as one of the leaders of the filly and mare sprint division with an authoritative, front-running 5 1/4-length victory in Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Vagrancy Handicap at Belmont Park.

Despite stumbling at the start under Javier Castellano, Hilda's Passion quickly picked herself up and carved out fractions of 22.34 seconds for the quarter, 44.91 for the half-mile, and 1:08.54 for six furlongs while racing uncontested. She covered the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:14.81, just .35 of a second off the track and stakes record established by Bear Fan in 2004. She returned $2.90 to win.

Curlina, stepping up into graded a company for the first time in her career, chased those early fractions and finished second, four lengths ahead of Tidal Pool. Streaker and Erin Rose completed the order of finish. Kissa Melissa and Kid Kate were scratched.

The win was the third from five starts this year for Hilda's Passion, who during the winter meet at Gulfstream won the Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie and Grade 2 Inside Information. She was coming off a second-place finish to Sassy Image in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs last out.

Hilda's Passion, a 4-year-old daughter of Canadian Frontier, is owned by Jack and Laurie Wolf's Starlight Stable and Charles Glasscock and trained by Todd Pletcher.

Castellano said he didn't think the stumble was a big deal because she recovered so quickly and made the front without trouble.

"I know the fractions went pretty fast, but when it didn't feel like they were that fast," Castellano said. "I just relaxed and enjoyed the trip. When I asked her a little bit she took off."

Castellano said that Hilda's Passion did get a little pumped up when she stumbled, but Pletcher said that wasn't necessarily a bad thing.

"I think she's usually at her best when she's a little pumped up actually, so it didn't concern me too much," Pletcher said. "She was at the top of her game today."

Pletcher said he would likely run Hilda's Passion back in the Grade 3, $150,000 Bed o' Roses here on July 3 and then freshen the filly up until the Grade 1 Ballerina at Saratoga on Aug. 27.