06/05/2009 11:00PM

Hugo strong on soft turf

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Hugo ($6.80) responded to new rider Rosemary Homeister and soft turf conditions at Colonial Downs to register his first stakes victory in the $50,000 John D. Marsh.

Fourth early in a field of seven Virginia-bred and Virginia-sired turf sprinters, the 4-year-old Hugo was taken to the outside by Homeister as the field swung into the stretch of the 5 1/2-furlong race. He took command inside the eighth pole and drew clear by 1 1/2 lengths over Powder Mountain, a 3-year-old making his first start since last August. Charles Town shipper Should Expect finished third, 1 1/4 lengths behind the runner-up.

The filly So Vain pressed the early pace and faded to fifth as the 7-5 favorite.

Hugo completed the distance in 1:07.45.

Trained by Hamilton Smith, Hugo had failed to fire and finished seventh in his first start of the season two weeks ago at Pimlico. He returned to Colonial, where he was fourth in a pair of restricted stakes last summer, for his second start since November. He has now won 4 of 15.