05/27/2010 11:00PM

Vagrancy pace should suit Hour Glass


ELMONT, N.Y. - Though Tar Heel Mom has run well from both on and off the pace, the majority of her seven victories have come when she's been able to make the early lead. Such was the case in last month's Grade 2 Distaff Handicap at Aqueduct, when, after getting away a step slowly, Tar Heel Mom was sent to the front and never looked back in defeating Hour Glass by 2 1/2 lengths.

Saturday, in the Grade 2, $150,000 Vagrancy Breeders' Cup Handicap at Belmont Park, Tar Heel Mom and Hour Glass meet again. Given the makeup of the Vagrancy's seven-horse field on paper, it would appear unlikely Tar Heel Mom can get loose on the lead. Several in the field have good early speed: Hold That Prospect, who is expected to run here and not in Saturday's $250,000 My Juliet at Philadelphia Park, according to trainer Gary Gullo, as well as Lady Alexander, Rightly So and Saarlight.

A contested pace and a fast track could benefit Hour Glass, who seeks her first graded stakes victory for the Brady family's Mill House and trainer Todd Pletcher. Hour Glass is 2 for 4 with these connections with both wins coming at six furlongs over fast tracks.

"On paper, it looks like it could set up for us," Pletcher said. "Hopefully, she can sit in a garden spot."

David Cohen rides Hour Glass from post 2.

Tar Heel Mom came from off pace when finishing second in both the Inside Information and Hurricane Bertie handicaps at Gulfstream. In the Distaff, at Aqueduct, Tar Heel Mom relished the sealed muddy surface and was a convincing winner. She is 1 for 3 at Belmont, with the win being a 10 3/4-length maiden score on July 13, 2008.

"She's pretty versatile," said Stanley Hough, the trainer of Tar Heel Mom. "If the races have a lot of speed, she's laid off it; if it is a slow pace she is comfortable on the front end. I don't think it bothers her either way."

Ramon Dominguez rode Tar Heel Mom in the Distaff. Dominguez is at Philadelphia Park on Saturday so Alan Garcia, who is 4 for 7 on Tar Heel Mom, has the call from post 3.

Malibu Prayer, a stablemate of Hour Glass, makes her first start in 6 1/2 months. Her best races have come in one-turn mile races. Saarlight was beaten a nose in a classified allowance race at Belmont over a sloppy track on May 12.