05/20/2011 4:55PM

Pimlico: Pletcher's audible results in Miss Preakness win for R Holiday Mood

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Tom Keyser
R Holiday Mood (right) holds off Strike the Moon to win the Miss Preakness.

As methodical a planner as trainer Todd Pletcher is, Friday’s Miss Preakness Stakes at Pimlico wasn’t on the original schedule for his tall, rangy 3-year-old filly R Holiday Mood.

But after the filly breezed so well last Saturday at Belmont Park, Pletcher convinced owner Joyce Robsham to pay the $500 supplemental fee to nominate R Holiday Mood to the six-furlong stakes race. The move paid big dividends as R Holiday Mood, under jockey John Velazquez, stalked the early pace of favorite Final Mesa, took the lead in deep stretch and held off a hard-charging Strike the Moon to win the $52,750 Miss Preakness by a neck. It was three-quarters of a length back to Bold Affair in third.

The win was the third in five starts for R Holiday Mood, whose previous victories were around two turns over Aqueduct’s inner track during the winter. She was coming out of a fourth-place finish to Hot Summer in the Grade 3 Comely at Aqueduct on April 9.

Pletcher hadn’t devised a plan for R Holiday Mood before she put in a best-of-80 four-furlong breeze in 47.80 seconds last Saturday over Belmont’s main track.

“I thought she breezed good on Saturday, knew this race was here,” said Pletcher. “I said ‘you know what, let’s give it a try and back her up to three quarters and see what happens.’ ”

R Holiday Mood broke sharply from the outside post under Velazquez, and found herself within a half-length of Final Mesa through a quarter-mile in 23.00 seconds and a half-mile in 46.12 seconds.

Inside the sixteenth pole, R Holiday Mood wrested a short lead from Final Mesa, the 4-5 favorite, and persevered past that one while holding off Strike the Moon, who had dropped back to sixth on the far turn.

R Holiday Mood, a daughter of Trippi, covered the six furlongs in 1:12.12 and returned $11.20 to win.

Velazquez said he was surprised by how much speed R Holiday Mood showed him early.

“She took it and it was like I’m already here much closer than I expected for her to be, I might as well take advantage of it and hopefully I‘ll have something left to fight with down the lane,” said Velazquez.