06/04/2009 11:00PM

Despite the Odds romps home in Hill Prince

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Barbara D. Livingston
Despite the Odds enjoys the slop while cruising to a 7 1/2-length victory in Friday's $109,000 Hill Prince Stakes.

ELMONT, N.Y. - The first time Jeremy Rose worked Despite the Odds, he thought the horse would be one of the 3-year-olds that would be competing in the Triple Crown series. While that didn't quite work out, Despite the Odds gave a glimpse of his potential Friday, splashing his way to a 7 1/2-length victory in the $109,000 Hill Prince Stakes at Belmont Park.

Affirmatif, who dueled outside of Despite the Odds early on, settled for second, 6 1/4 lengths ahead of Dubinsky. Conservative, who was the 7-5 favorite, Rendezvous, and Duke of Homberg completed the order of finish.

The Hill Prince was one of five turf races that were moved to the main track on a rainy Belmont Stakes eve card at Belmont Park. Because the race was transferred to the dirt, the Hill Prince lost its Grade 3 status pending a review by the North American Graded Stakes Committee.

Though he was entered to run on the turf, Despite the Odds had run his three previous races on the dirt, all at six furlongs. He won his first two at Laurel before finishing a distant eighth in the Grade 3 Hirsch Jacobs at Pimlico on Preakness Day.

Friday, Despite the Odds broke alertly under Rose from post 2, dueled inside of Affirmatif through a quarter-mile in 23.47 seconds, a half-mile in 46.25, and six furlongs 1:10.13. Turning for home, Rose shook the reins at Despite the Odds and he ran away from the field. Despite the Odds, a son of Speightstown owned by Larry Johnson, Mike Ryan, and Jerry Dilger and trained by Michael Trombetta, covered the mile in 1:35.68 and returned $17.20 to win.

"I was happy where I was at; if he crossed over I would have just sat outside," said Rose, referring to jockey John Velazquez aboard Affirmatif. "He never seemed like he wanted the lead any more than I did. We both kind of sat there and set easy fractions, and I had plenty to finish with, obviously."

Rose said he could tell in the post parade that his horse was going to enjoy the sloppy conditions.

"I really was happy with the way he was getting over it," Rose said. "He wasn't jumping up and down, and that was a big plus for me."

In other stakes on Friday:

* In the $73,500 Glowing Honor Stakes, also transferred from the turf to the dirt, favored J Z Warrior ($5.10) split horses at the sixteenth pole under John Velazquez and drew clear to a one-length victory over Dance Gal Dance. It was three-quarters of a length back to Matchless Orinda in third.

J Z Warrior, owned by Ty Scheumann and trained by Bill Mott, covered the six furlongs in 1:10.86 in the slop. It was J Z Warrior's fifth win from 16 career starts.

* In the $63,750 Alyssum Stakes, Malibu Beach ($6.60), set the pace, was passed by Reforestation on the far turn, and then came back again under Ramon Dominguez to beat Reforestation by three-quarters of a length. It was six lengths back to Pretty Catherine in third.

Malibu Beach, a 3-year-old daughter of Tapit owned by Jeff Puglisi and trained by Steve Klesaris, covered the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:17.12.