10/01/2016 8:32PM

Snuggles stalks, pounces in Ballerina

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The 3-year-old filly Snuggles, under Rico Walcott, wins the Grade 3 Ballerina.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - The 3-year-old filly Snuggles came from a stalking position to win the Grade 3, $100,000 Ballerina at Hastings on Saturday. She paid $5.90 for her win over Victress, who was the only other 3-year-old in the 1 1/8-mile race for fillies and mares.

Jockey Rico Walcott may have moved Snuggles too soon when she suffered her only loss this year in the $100,000 British Columbia Oaks in her previous start. Walcott gave her a perfect ride in the Ballerina, however.

Snuggles broke alertly and it looked like she wanted to get involved with Sailingforthesun and Touching Promise early. However, Walcott had other ideas. He wrangled her back, where she sat in a stalking position while the leaders dueled through a half-mile in 47.44 seconds. Walcott asked her to get involved approaching the quarter pole and she made a strong move while going three wide around the stretch turn. She was a length behind Touching Promise and Sailingforthesun at the eighth pole, and after drawing away from Touching Promise in midstretch, she held off the late move by Victress to win by three quarters of a length. Sailingforthesun faded to finish fifth.

“She broke pretty sharply but I didn’t want to hook up with Touching Promise and the other speed so I took a hold of her,” said Walcott. “She made a nice move down the backstretch and once she got outside of Touching Promise turning for home she finished strong.”

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Victress trailed the field early and couldn’t catch the winner. Touching Promise, who won the Ballerina the previous two years, was game in defeat.

The final time was 1:50.26.

Trained by Dino Condilenios, Snuggles is the leading candidate for local Horse of the Year. It was her fifth stakes win at the meet and in her only loss in the Oaks she was beaten by a head.

A homebred daughter of Rosberg, Snuggles is owned by Swift Thoroughbreds Inc. The win brought her career earnings to $288,750.