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Saratoga: C C's Pal rallies to win Honorable Miss
By Mike Welsch
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said he was "licking his lips" when he saw the early fractions, 21.14 seconds and 43.78, go up on the tote board during the early stages of Friday's $200,000 Honorable Miss Handicap at Saratoga. That suicidal pace ultimately led to Dutrow standing in the winner's circle after his C C's Pal rallied to a neck decision over Island Bound in the Grade 2 stakes for fillies and mares.
C C's Pal, who is as equally comfortable on as she is coming from off the pace, won the Grade 2 Vagrancy Handicap on the lead two months earlier at Belmont Park. But with It's Me Mom and several other speedballs in the Honorable Miss lineup, jockey Junior Alvarado settled C C's Pal off the blistering pace while allowing her to save ground around the turn. C C's Pal had to steady briefly when blocked at the top of the stretch but recovered to run down the tiring Maple Forest inside the sixteenth pole, then withstood a late run from Island Bound.
Beat the Blues rallied mildly to be third. It's Me Mom, who set the fast pace after breaking a step slowly, had little left after a half mile and finished seventh as the 9-5 favorite.
C C's Pal, a 5-year-old daughter of Alex's Pal, is owned by Eric Fein. She gave Alvarado a sweep of the afternoon's stakes races after winning the John's Call with Harrods Creek and his fourth stakes win overall at the meet. C C's Pal returned $8.50 after completing the distance in 1:09.88 over the fast track.
"It was awful quick up front," said Dutrow. "We wanted to save ground around the turn. We knew we could outrun the horses on the inside of us, and this filly can win on the lead, stalking, and coming from off of it. She just fired another bullet, man - what are you going to do."
Dutrow said he is not certain why C C's Pal finished a disappointing third in her previous start as the even-money favorite in the Grade 3 Bed O Roses at Belmont Park.
"There has to be a reason for that, but I haven't seen it," said Dutrow. "But we ran her at Philly then banged her six days later at Belmont and then ran her again. Maybe it caught up with her I really don't know. But I haven't really seen anything in her training, which is why we brought her up here."
Dutrow said C C's Pal would likely pass the Grade 1 Ballerina later in the meet.
"We've got other ones for that, babe," said Dutrow.
"Babe"? Who's he trying to be, Sammy Davis, Jr.?
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