03/12/2011 6:59PM

Tampa Bay: Denomination outbattles favored Zagora in Hillsborough

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Tom Cooley Photography
Freddy Lenclud collects the first of two stakes victories on Saturdays card when he brings home Denomination in the Grade 3 Hillsboroujgh.

OLDSMAR, Fla. - Prominent from the outset, Denomination dueled with favored Zagora through a long drive and came away with a hard-earned neck victory in the Grade 3, $150,000 Hillsborough Stakes on Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs.

Under a well-judged ride by Frederick Lenclud, Denomination followed Cherokee Queen as she cut out a leisurely pace that included a half-mile in 49.53 seconds and six furlongs in 1:13.46. Denomination then went up from the outside to challenge turning for home.

Meanwhile, Zagora and jockey Ramon Dominguez had looped rivals three-wide moving to contention through the second turn and ranged up outside Denomination and Cherokee Queen from the outside in the drive and the favorite actually gained a short advantage with a furlong remaining.

But Denomination and Lenclud battled back and outkicked Zagora, who was making her first start since October, to the wire and came away with the win.

"Everything worked out for us just right today," Lenclud said. "She was eager to run and i was able to get her to relax just off the leader. I asked her for run getting to the stretch and she responded like i knew she would. Last time in the Endevour she never really got into the race; we were farther back than we should have been and she was brave to do as well as she did coming off the pace. Today everything was just right."


Trained by Christophe Clement, Denomination returned a generous $26.20 while covering the nine furlongs over a firm turf course in 1:48.69. Zagora finished 1 1/2 lengths in front of  the late closing Keertana with Cherokee Queen a half length back in fourth.

In the $75,000 Suncoast Stakes for 3-year-old fillies going a mile and 40 yards, Lenclud scored his second straight stakes win as he rallied from between rivals with Wyomia and came away with a head tally over Devilish.

Wyomia, who was making her first start since finishing sixth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf last fall, returned $15.20 while winning her third race from five career starts for trainer Curtis Garrison.

She covered the distance over a fast track in 1:39.93. Devilish Lady finished a length ahead of Her Smile.