News » Hilda's Passion 1-5 in Bed o'Roses

July 2, 2011

After a scorching performance in Belmont's Grade 2 Vagrancy Handicap, Hilda's Passion is back in Sunday's Grade 3, $150,000 Bed o'Roses Handicap, heading a field of seven fillies and mares in the seven-furlong dash.

Sent off at 2-5 in the June 4 Vagrancy, Hilda's Passion proved a deserving favorite, leading at every call to win by 5 ¼ lengths despite stumbling at the break. The win was the third in five starts this year for the 4-year-old daughter of Canadian Frontier, whose 2011 defeats have come against Tar Heel Mom in Gulfstream Park's Grade 3 Sugar Swirl Stakes on January 15 and Sassy Image in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff on May 7 at Churchill Downs. She set a new track record at Gulfstream winning the Grade 2 Inside Information (1:20.45) at the Bed o'Roses distance.

Hilda's Passion captured the Grade 2 Raven Run over the Polytrack at Keeneland to close out her sophomore season on October 23; last summer she was fourth in a 5 ½-furlong turf allowance at Monmouth Park in July and romped by 8 ¾ lengths over a sloppy track in the off-the-turf Bennington Stakes at Saratoga Race Course on August 23.

"Obviously, she's a filly that is at her best on dirt," said Todd Pletcher, who trains Hilda's Passion for Starlight Racing and Charles E. Glasscock. "She's talented enough on [artificial surfaces] and turf, so she's versatile in that respect. She's a free-running filly and her style suits dirt. She's been better as a 4-year-old; her races have been less taxing. I believe that's due to her physical maturity more than anything."

Javier Castellano, who has been aboard Hilda's Passion for all of her 2011 starts, retains the mount aboard the 124-pound highweight, who will concede between nine and 11 pounds to her six rivals in the Bed o'Roses. Installed at 1-5 on the morning line, she will leave from post position 6.

Runner-up to Hilda's Passion in the Vagrancy handicap was Curlina, the longest shot on the board at 29-1 and clearly second-best in her first stakes effort. The daughter of Cuvee, who broke her maiden for a $16,000 claiming tag on September 17 when trained by Stanley Hough, had won four straight in claiming and allowance company before her second-place effort in the Vagrancy.

"That race was really good," said Gary Gullo, who trains Curlina for Team Power Play Racing. "She really ran well - every time we've asked her to step up and do something, she's done it. She always tries hard. She had all opportunity [in the Vagrancy] to give it up, but she scooted away from them again."

Gullo views the Bed o'Roses as an important test for Curlina, who he believes is beginning to hit her best stride as a 4-year-old.

"This race could be a turning point for her," said Gullo. "She might have been kind of a late bloomer. She's always had the look of a real nice filly and she's finally starting to put it all together now. With these fillies sometimes they get good for two or three months and then go backwards, but fingers crossed, she'll go forward."

Curlina, toting 113 pounds including Ramon Dominguez, will leave from post 2 as the 10-1 third choice.

Looking for and improved outcome with a switch back to dirt is the lightly raced Juddmonte Farms homebred Comic Marvel, most recently fourth in the six-furlong Nonsuch Bay turf overnight stakes at Belmont on June 8. Two starts back, the daughter of Distorted Humor was fifth over the turf in the Grade 3, 1 1/16-mile Beaugay and she started the year with an allowance victory over Keeneland's Polytrack at the Bed o'Roses distance on April 15.

"She has a little turf pedigree and we thought we'd give her a shot on it going long and sprinting, and neither one really worked," said Leana Willaford, assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. "If something's not working, you've got to change it, and actually her dirt form was quite good."

Comic Marvel has two wins from three starts on dirt, breaking her maiden over a sloppy main track at Belmont in October 2009 and going on to win an allowance at Gulfstream in her next start on January 31, 2010. Sixth in the 2010 edition of the Grade 2 Davona Dale in the third start of her career, Comic Marvel then went to the sidelines for more than a year, returning to win the April allowance at Keeneland.

John Velazquez, who rode Comic Marvel to her dirt allowance win and in the Davona Dale, will climb back aboard for the Bed o'Roses. Assigned post 3 and 114 pounds, Comic Marvel was tabbed at 15-1 on the morning line.

Kid Kate, winner of Aqueduct's six-furlong Correction Stakes on January 29, may return on short rest following a fourth-place effort in the Sweet and Sassy Stakes at Delaware Park on June 25.

"This is a smaller field and she's doing well since the race [at Delaware], so I'm going to take a look at it," said trainer Chad Brown.

Winless since the Correction, Kid Kate was seventh in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie at Laurel Park on February 19, and third in both the Grade 2 Distaff Handicap on April 16 at Aqueduct and the Nany overnight stakes on May 8 at Belmont. She has never finished worse than third in four starts over the Big Sandy.

Rounding out the field in the Bed o'Roses are Christine Daae, four-length victress in her lone 2011 start, a Gulfstream allowance on April 22; Spa City Princess, promoted to third in the Grade 2 Shuvee on May 21 following the disqualification of Happy Week; and Tamarind Hall, a 7 ¾-length allowance winner at Finger Lakes on June 11.