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Nicole H Favored in Distaff Handicap at Aqueduct - 04-15-11


April 15 - The $150,000 Distaff Handicap (Gr 2) is the featured race of Saturday's 10-race card at Aqueduct Racecourse in Ozone Park, New York, and one that has attracted a short field of five runners, including race favorite Nicole H.

Owned by John Waken and trained by Mike Hushion, four-year-old filly Nicole H has won 2 out of 2 stakes races so far in her career, which is why her connections are confident she can make it 3 out of 3 in Saturday's trip over seven furlongs.

In her last outing, the Interborough Stakes at Aqueduct on January 1, Nicole H ran a sterling race and ended up crossing the line first by a comfortable 2 1/2 lengths. However, soon after her connections decided to give the filly a considerable break.

And despite the recent cold New York winter, Nicole H's training schedule for the Distaff Handicap went ahead without a hitch. In fact, as proof of her readiness, on April 3 she completed a five-furlong work in a none-too-shabby time of 59.25s.

Said Hushion, 'She had a strong gallop out in 1:13, which was kind of giving her a race to get her ready for a race.' Interestingly, the Distaff Handicap will be the first time the filly has competed over seven furlongs since her racing debut 15 months ago.

So after a lengthy 13-week lay off, Nicole H will return in tomorrow's featured Distaff Handicap, where she'll take on four other fillies and mares three-years-old and up which comprise second favorite Spacy Tracy, Qualia, Kid Kate and Wild News.

Trained by Tony Dutrow, Spacy Tracy returns to Aqueduct for the first time since she won the Top Flight Handicap (Gr 2) on November 26. However, in her last race, the Azeri Stakes (Gr 3) on March 19 at Oaklawn Park, she ran home in last.

However, her trainer defended her, saying the Azeri was only the beginning for the six-year-old mare. 'She was only so far along and I thought that race would set her up just right to go into the Distaff. We'll see if the best-laid plans work out,' he said.

Here is the complete field and odds for the 2011 Distaff Handicap at Aqueduct:

  1. Wild News (KY) 4/F 6/1
  2. Kid Kate (KY) 4/F 5/1
  3. Qualia (KY) 5/M 3/1
  4. Spacy Tracy (KY) 6/M 5/2
  5. Nicole H (KY) 4/F 8/5


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