09/09/2012 5:55PM

Belmont Park: Hessonite wins third straight in Hettinger Stakes

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Barbara D. Livingston
Hessonite, with Ramon Dominguez up, wins the John Hettinger Stakes by 5 1/4 lengths.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Hessonite continued to gain ground on her rival Gitchee Goomie in the New York-bred filly and mare turf division with a decisive 5 1/4-length victory in Sunday’s $147,000 John Hettinger Stakes at Belmont Park.

It was the third straight victory for Hessonite and her second over Gitchee Goomie – who checked in fourth. In five meetings between Hessonite and Gitchee Goomie this year, Gitchee Goomie has finished ahead of Hessonite three times. A likely sixth meeting will happen in the $175,000 Ticonderoga Stakes on New York Showcase Day on Oct. 20. Hessonite defeated Gitchee Goomie in their first-ever meeting last October.

David Donk, trainer of Hessonite thought more distance would be ideal for his filly, and he was spot on as she relished every bit of the 1 1/8 miles as well as the yielding Belmont inner turf course.

Despite sitting last and 7 1/2 lengths off the pace through a dawdling half-mile, Ramon Dominguez rallied Hessonite three wide nearing the top of the stretch, they took command turning for home and drew clear with every stride.

Hessonite, a 4-year-old daughter of Freud owned by William Punk and Philip DiLeo, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:53.12 and returned $3.20 as the 3-5 favorite.

She won by 5 1/4 lengths over her stablemate Freedom Rings, who caught the pacesetting Inimitable Romanee by a head for second. It was 2 3/4 lengths back to Gitchee Goomie in fourth. Dreaming of Cara finished last.

“Ramon has so much confidence in her,” Donk said. “The way she runs, wherever there’s a seam, she’s there; wherever he wants her. Very professional. I’m just very fortunate my name is on the program.”

While Donk said he would point Hessonite to the Ticonderoga, he didn’t rule out trying her against open company somewhere before then.