03/07/2009 12:00AM

I Lost My Choo scores on favorite strip


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - I Lost My Choo continued to stake her claim as the ultimate horse for the Gulfstream Park turf course when she rallied to a two-length triumph over the 50-1 Rustic Flame in Saturday's $100,000 Honey Fox Stakes. The victory was the fourth in as many starts for the New York-bred I Lost My Choo over Gulfstream's infield strip.

Making her first start since finishing fifth over a yielding course in Saratoga's Grade 2 Lake Placid on Aug. 15, I Lost My Choo benefited from a lightning-fast pace that proved the undoing of 4-5 favorite Wild Promises. I Lost My Choo saved ground while racing in midpack down the backstretch, swung wide under jockey Jose Lezcano midway on the second turn, then exploded through the stretch to readily overtake Flibberjibit and win going away.

Rustic Flame rallied from well back to finish second, three-quarters of a length in front of Flibberjibit, who turned in a game effort after forcing the rapid pace while hung four wide most of the trip. Wild Promises posted fractions of 23.35 seconds, 46.48, and 1:09.78 and had little left after six furlongs, finishing a weary 10th in a field of 12 fillies and mares. The setback snapped a six-race winning streak for Wild Promises that included a popular victory here in the Sunshine Millions Turf on Jan. 24.

I Lost My Choo ($16.40), a 4-year-old daughter of Western Expression, won 5 of 8 starts at 3, including the Grade 3 Virginia Oaks. She is owned by Carl Lizza's Flying Zee Stable and trained by Phil Serpe.

"She was moving in the right direction last year after winning the Virginia Oaks, but rain kind of spoiled our plans last summer at Saratoga," said Serpe. "She'd been going pretty steadily since April of her 2-year-old campaign up to then, so we decided to give her a well-needed break and it really served her well."

Serpe said he is uncertain what will be next for I Lost My Choo, although he mentioned Keeneland's Jenny Wiley on April 11 as one option.

Sunshine State: Hypocrite overcomes trouble

Hypocrite went to his knees leaving the starting gate but recovered to register a rail-skimming three-quarter-length victory over 3-5 favorite Yesbyjimminy in the inaugural running of the $75,000 Sunshine State Stakes for Florida-breds.

Hypocrite, who finished behind Yesbyjimminy in their previous two meetings, raced within two lengths of the leaders while saving ground. A son of Outofthebox, Hypocrite found ample room to rally along the inside once turning for home before outfinishing the favorite under jockey Manoel Cruz.

Yesbyjimminy, whose six-race win streak had come to an end in his previous start, the Sunshine Millions Sprint at Santa Anita, stalked the pace of longshot Hal's My Hope, gained a short advantage under confident handling into the stretch, but could not resist the winner while drifting some near the end. Hal's My Hope outlasted the others to finish third.

Hypocrite paid $5.40 after covering seven furlongs in 1:23.40.

"It scared me when he stumbled leaving the gate, but perhaps it worked out for the best because it allowed him to stay off the pace," said trainer Manny Tortora, who also owns Hypocrite with his wife, Jacqueline, as well as his daughter and son-in-law Toni and Richard Ancona. "When he gets up too close, he has a tendency to flatten out at the end."