03/08/2012 10:22AM

Tampa Bay: Zagora eyes revenge in Hillsborough rematch with Denomination

Email
Tom Cooley Photography
Denomination edges Zagora in last year's Hillsborough. Zagora has a good chance to turn the tables on Saturday.

OLDSMAR, Fla. – A rematch between last year’s one-two finishers in the Hillsborough Stakes, Denomination and Zagora, spices up Saturday’s Festival Day, which is headed by the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby. The Grade 3, $150,000 Hillsborough, race 10, is sandwiched by the $100,000 Stonewall Farm Ocala Suncoast Stakes (race 9) and the Tampa Bay Derby (race 11).

Zagora lost last year’s Hillsborough by a neck to Denomination. She will be making her second start of the season in the Hillsborough, a nine-furlong turf race for fillies and mares, and her trainer, Chad Brown, feels she’ll be a fitter and tougher runner on Saturday. A 5-year-old French-bred, Zagora was making her first start of the season when she started in last winter’s Hillsborough, but this year she tuned up with a 2 1/4-length victory in the Grade 3 Endeavour over the local grass course.

“She turned in a solid effort in her last and came out of the race well,” Brown said. “She obviously likes the Tampa course and we’re hoping for another good showing on Saturday.”

Last season, Zagora followed her loss to Denomination with a third over a yielding Keeneland course in the Grade 2 Jenny Wiley, followed by a fast-closing second at Belmont in the Grade 2 New York. She picked up her lone win of the year at Saratoga in the Grade 1 Diana, coming from off the pace for a 1 1/2-length tally in that nine-furlong turf test.

Following the Diana, Brown sent Zagora to Woodbine for the Grade 2 Canadian Handicap with plans to come back to Canada for the E.P. Taylor, but after Zagora finished seventh as the favorite in the Canadian, Brown changed his plans.

“She just didn’t like that set-up at Woodbine, even though we thought she would, so we decided to just freshen her up and bring her back this winter,” Brown said. “If she runs well Saturday we’ll perhaps find one more race for her then run her back in the Diana.”

Trainer Christophe Clement will have two in the Hillsborough: Denomination, who will be be making her second start of the season, and Federation, who came here from Great Britain over the winter and has been nothing short of spectacular winning both her U.S. starts, both over the Tampa course. Denomination finished fifth in the Grade 3 Suwanee River at Gulfstream Park last month in her only start of the year

Hooh Why, upset winner of the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf at 17-1 last out, enters the Hillsborough just $57,000 short of hitting the million-dollar mark in career earnings. Snow Top Mountain won the Suwanee River.

Hillsborough S. (G3), Post Time: 4:58 ET Saturday

Purse: $150,000; 1 1/8 mile (T)

Post

Horse

Trainer

Jockey

ML Odds

1

Sea Level Drive

G. Arnold, II

R. Homeister, Jr.

15-1

1

Megaspiel (GB)

E. Reed

S. Spieth

30-1

1

Hooh Why

S. Giren-Drake

L. Goncalves

8-1

1

Last Full Measure

P. Oliver

M. Cruz

20-1

1

Denomination

C. Clement

J. Leparoux

7-2

1

Unbridled Humor

H. Motion

J. Rocco, Jr.

6-1

1

Zagora (FR)

C. Brown

J. Castellano

2-1

1

Federation (GB)

C. Clement

P. Morales

12-1

1

Gold d'Oro

W. Mott

D. Coa

8-1

1

Snow Top Mountain

T. Proctor

J. Lezcano

9-2

1

Fox Rules

M. Ferraro

H. Villa-Gomez

30-1

1

Cajun Charlie

B. House

T. Hebert

15-1