07/01/2011 12:32PM

Belmont Park: Hilda's Passion stays home for Bed o' Roses

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Hilda’s Passion, a 5 1/4-length winner in the Grade 2 Vagrancy, will be a heavy favorite in the Bed o’ Roses.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Coming off a dominant victory in the Grade 2 Vagrancy Handicap here June 4, Hilda’s Passion would have been a logical candidate for next weekend’s Grade 1, $350,000 Princess Rooney Handicap at Calder.

Despite the larger purse and the fact she would have been an odds-on favorite in that six-furlong race, Hilda’s Passion remained home in New York to run in Sunday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Bed o’ Roses Handicap, where she also figures to be heavily favored in this seven-furlong stakes.

“We didn’t want to ship her out right now,” said Jack Wolf, the managing partner of Starlight Racing, which owns Hilda’s Passion along with Charles Glasscock. “She’s doing very well at Belmont, she likes the surface. She’ll run here and hopefully be ready for the Ballerina and the Breeders’ Cup.”

Both the Ballerina, run at Saratoga on Aug. 27, and the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, run Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs, are Grade 1 events run at seven furlongs.

Hilda’s Passion may be the best older filly and mare sprinter in the country. During the Gulfstream meet, Hilda’s Passion was beaten a neck by Tar Heel Mom in the Grade 3 Sugar Swirl, but came back to win the Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie and Grade 2 Inside Information. After finishing second to Sassy Image in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff at Churchill on Derby Day, Hilda’s Passion won the Vagrancy by 5 1/4 lengths, despite stumbling at the start.

Trainer Todd Pletcher said he would run back in the Bed o’ Roses, provided the weight assignment wasn’t too steep. She picked up only one pound from the race and will carry 124 pounds, a concession of nine to 11 pounds to the field. In the Vagrancy, she spotted runner-up Curlina 10 pounds.

Hilda’s Passion earned a 108 Beyer Speed Figure in the Vagrancy, and while there is a chance she could regress, or bounce, it still might not be enough for anyone in this field to beat her. She will break from post 6 under Javier Castellano.

“Off of her effort last time, you could be concerned about a regression, but she tends to be a fairly consistent filly,” said Jonathan Thomas, assistant to Pletcher.

If there is an upset to be had, perhaps Christine Daae is the best candidate. A 4-year-old daughter of Giant’s Causeway, Christine Daae returned from an eight-month layoff to win a second-level allowance race by four lengths at Gulfstream Park on April 22. It was her first start since she finished sixth in the Grade 1 Test at Saratoga last Aug. 7. She emerged from that race with bone bruising, according to trainer Patrick Biancone.

“She had a good comeback race, she ran hard when she won, I wanted to keep her at seven furlongs, so we waited for this race,” Biancone said. “For sure, [Hilda’s Passion] is the horse to beat. She’s the best sprinter in the country. I hope we can beat her, I’m not sure we can do that.”

Curlina, second to Hilda’s Passion in the Vagrancy; Spa City Princess, fourth in the Grade 2 Shuvee; Tamarind Hall, Kid Kate, and Comic Marvel complete the lineup.