Lawrence Goichman’s Myhartblongstodady found the winner’s circle for the first time in nearly one calendar year when backing up her 6-5 favoritism with a third career stakes score in Friday’s 12th running of the $125,000 John Hettinger for New York-bred fillies and mares going nine furlongs over the inner turf at Belmont Park.
Trained by Jorge Abreu, Myhartblongstodady entered from a late-closing second beaten three-quarters of a length in the Yaddo, a 1 1/16-mile turf test for state-breds on August 27 at Saratoga Race Course.
Breaking from post 6 under Jose Lezcano, Myhartblongstodady raced in tandem with Pecatonica into the first turn, before taking command through an opening quarter-mile in 24.80 seconds over the firm turf.
Cara’s Dreamer was rushed to the front under Dylan Davis, establishing command through a half-mile in 49.44 while Myhartblongstodady raced in third to the inside of 31-1 longshot Two Cent Tootsie. Around the far turn, Myhartblongstodady inched her way closer to Cara’s Dreamer and was on even terms nearing the three-sixteenths pole, establishing clear command past the marker.
Ice Princess, who broke outward and clipped heels with Cara’s Dreamer at the break, launched a menacing rally in the final furlong but Myhartblongstodady held on for the three-quarter length victory in a final time of 1:48.20. Cara’s Dreamer was another length back in third.
Two Cent Tootsie, Pecatonica and Dancingwthdaffodls completed the order of finish. Classic Lady as well as main track only entrants Dancing Kiki and Make Mischief were scratched.
Lezcano, who piloted Myhartblongstodady to all three of her stakes conquests, said his filly was comfortable throughout.
“She broke pretty good,” Lezcano said. “She likes to run free. She doesn’t like it if you grab her too much. She relaxed, too. She went the whole way pretty good.”
Lezcano said he let Cara’s Dreamer have the lead in order to avoid a pace duel down the backstretch.
“I let her pass. I didn’t want to go head-and-head with her,” Lezcano said. “She did everything right. She finished up good.”
Myhartblongstodady had made two of her first four starts this year with off-the-board efforts against graded company in addition to a strong third in the open-company Plenty of Grace in April at the Big A won by multiple graded-stakes winner Regal Glory.
Abreu said he felt confident that Lezcano could work out a winning trip.
“Jose knows her very well. I said to Jose, ‘Just play the break and use your judgment.’ And he did. They get along pretty good,” Abreu said. “I was sort of concerned about the mile and an eighth, but this is one of the weakest fields she ran against compared to the ones she ran in before. She got it done.”
Myhartblongstodady, who won last year’s Yaddo at the Spa, returned $4.60 for the win, notching her first victory since the Ticonderoga in October 2020 over the Belmont inner turf.
Abreu said he plans on attempting to protect the mare’s title in the $200,000 Ticonderoga, a 1 1/16-mile turf test for state-bred fillies and mares 3-years-old and up on October 30 here as part of Empire Showcase Day.
“Hopefully, she comes out of it in good shape and goes to the Ticonderoga. That will be her last race and then we will send her to be a broodmare,” Abreu said.
Danny Gargan, trainer of runner-up Ice Princess, said the graded stakes-placed filly’s race was lost out of the gate.
“It’s unfortunate. She clipped heels at the gate. She almost went down,” Gargan said. “We thought we’d be laying third or fourth, but when the five [No. 5, Cara’s Dreamer] came over on her it cost us our position. We should have won the race.”
Banking $68,750 for the win, Myhartblongstodady now brags lifetime earnings of $442,966 through a consistent record of 15-6-3-3. In addition to her three stakes triumphs against her New York-bred counterparts, Myhartblongstodady earned open company black type with third-place finishes in the Forever Together in November 2020 and the Plenty of Grace, both at Aqueduct.
A New York homebred, Myhartblongstodady is out of the three-time stakes-placed Elusive Quality mare Elusive Rumour, making her a half-sister to stakes-winner and graded stakes-placed Runaway Rumour, who also is trained by Abreu and owned by Goichman.
Live racing returns Saturday at Belmont Park with an 11-race card, spearheaded by a pair of Grade 1 events worth $500,000 in the Woodward for 3-year-olds and upward going nine furlongs over the main track as well as the Champagne for 2-year-olds at a one-turn mile, which offers a “Win And You’re In” entry to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Del Mar.
Also featured on the program are the Grade 2, $200,000 Pilgrim for juveniles going 1 1/16 miles over the inner turf and the Grade 3, $200,000 Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational for 3-year-olds and upward at six furlongs over the inner turf. First post is 1 p.m. Eastern.
America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the fall meet at Belmont Park on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/belmont/racing/tv-schedule.
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NYRA Belmont Press Release
Photo: Myhartblongtodady ( NYRA Photo)