In a bold front-running effort, the Patrick Fony-conditioned Durocell outsprinted rivals to win the $1.2-million Hotline Stakes feature in encouraging style on the nine-race programme at Caymanas Park on Saturday.
Ridden by the capable Bebeto Harvey, Durocell (Soul Warrior–Savanna's Smile) controlled the race from start to finish and was able to hold on in the end by three quarters of a length from the later-running Royal Ash in the Restricted Allowance II contest for native-bred three-year-old fillies over six furlongs (1,200m).
The Hotline Stakes, named after the magnificent filly Hot Line, is considered one of the major prep races for the upcoming Classic series of races and was the first stop on the "Road to the Triple Crown".
Durocell broke off well at the start of the race and immediately took control ahead of Acknowledgeme (Youville Pinnock). Going into the half-mile (800m) turn, Durocell upped the tempo a bit ahead of Speedie Hare (Shavon Townsend), who had made a brave move circling Acknowledgeme and Royal Ash (Tevin Foster).
With no real challengers to contest her entering the stretch, Durocell continued to show the way, and although she was shortening a bit inside the final quarters, the chestnut filly had already done enough and held on for the win in the end.
Royal Ash, who was making her seasonal debut after a 133-day break, lost no marks in defeat as she was outdone by a better horse on the day. All For Love (Dane Dawkins) finished in third place with a final time of 1:15.0.
Champion jockey Dane Dawkins was the pick of the riders on the day after booting home three winners. Dawkin won aboard Love Dub in the first race and Sistren Treasure in the top-rated Non-Restricted Overnight Allowance event, giving trainer Gary Subratie a double, and Green Gold Rush for trainer Dalton Sirjue in the second race.
Racing continues today with the Sir Howard Stakes, a Restricted Allowance II contest for native-bred three-year-old colts and geldings over six furlongs (1,200m).
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