03/10/2012 6:50PM

Tampa Bay: Zagora too classy for Hillsborough rivals

Tom Cooley Photography
Zagora and Javier Castellano win the Grade 3 Hillsborough at Tampa Bay Downs.

OLDSMAR, Fla. - Zagora moved up outside rivals to challenge out of the final turn, then shook off Federation last to post a 1 3/4-length victory in the Grade 3, $150,000 Hillsborough Stakes on Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs. The victory was the second straight in a stakes for jockey Javier Castellano, who won the $100,000 Suncoast the race before with Wait Til Dawn.

Zagora sat patiently off the pace for the first six furlongs of the 1 1/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares, then quickly moved up in the second turn to challenge four wide for the lead. Turning into the stretch, Zagora and Federation both drifted out a bit as Unbridled Humor took a clear lead, but Zagora drove past Federation and Unbridled Humor in the late stages to prove clearly best.

Federation outnodded Unbridled Humor by a head for the place, with Sea Level Drive fourth in the field of nine.

Trained by Chad Brown, Zagora was the strong favorite and returned $3.60 while covering the nine furlongs over a firm turf course in 1:46.97.
The win was worth $90,000 and ran Zagora's career earnings to $859,589.