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Despite the Odds romps in off-the-turf Hill Prince

When Friday's $109,000 Hill Prince S. was rained off the turf, the character of the race changed considerably. Not only did it lose its Grade 3 status, pending review by the American Graded Stakes Committee, but it also morphed into a one-turn mile on the sloppy, sealed main track. Relishing the new Hill Prince conditions best of all, the Michael Trombetta-trained DESPITE THE ODDS (Speightstown) rolled to a 7 1/2-length victory in a strung-out field.

When the gate opened, Affirmatif (Unbridled's Song) went straight to the front and carved out the initial quarter in :23 2/5. Despite the Odds pressed him every step of the way beneath Jeremy Rose, and moving through along the inside, he took the lead through a half in :46 1/5. The gray sophomore increased his margin through the stretch and crossed the wire in a final time of 1:35 3/5. Dispatched as the 7-1 fifth choice in the six-horse field, Despite the Odds provided his backers with $17.20, $6.80 and $4.40 while keying the $72.50 exacta and the $316 trifecta (2-9-10).

Affirmatif finished all alone in second, 6 1/4 lengths clear of his nearest pursuer, and returned $3.90 and $2.90 as the 2-1 second choice. Dubinsky (Toccet), who was third virtually throughout, held that position at the wire. Show was good for $3.90 at 9-2. Another 2 1/4 lengths astern came 7-5 favorite Conservative (Unbridled's Song), who never reached contention. A gap of 11 lengths separated him from fifth-place finisher Rendezvous (Victory Gallop), while Duke of Homberg (GB) (Dynaformer) trailed. Florentino (Jpn) (Swept Overboard), Lime Rickey (Lemon Drop Kid), Elmfield Boy (Medaglia d'Oro) and Heros Image (Partner's Hero) were all withdrawn.

Campaigned by R. Larry Johnson, TYB Stable and Jerry Dilger, Despite the Odds advanced his record to 4-3-0-0, $98,460. His first three starts came at six furlongs. He was a dazzling maiden winner first time out on March 4, posting a 10 3/4-length score in front-running fashion at Laurel. Despite the Odds overcame a poor start to clear his entry-level allowance/optional claiming test at that track on April 2. He never showed up in his stakes debut in the Hirsch Jacobs S. (G3), however, winding up a well-beaten eighth.

The winner was bred by Walton Breeders in Kentucky and was purchased by Johnson for $300,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Midlantic two-year-old. Out of Canadian stakes victress Lady Aloma (Cozzene), he is a half-brother to Canadian champion turf mare Chopinina (Lear Fan) and another stakes winner north of the border in Karra Kul (Strawberry Road [Aus]). Lady Aloma is herself a half-sister to Benburb (Dr. Carter), Canada's Horse of the Year in 1992.


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