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Phola dominates scratch-decimated Hillsborough

Phola earned a first stakes score in style (Stephanie Van Minos/Tom Cooley Photography)

PHOLA (Johannesburg) easily recorded her first stakes victory in Saturday's $150,000 Hillsborough S. (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs, rallying boldly off the far turn to win going away by 4 1/4 lengths over the good turf. Six of the 12 entrants, including Mushka (Empire Maker) and Tottie (GB) (Fantastic Light), were withdrawn from the about 1 1/8-mile affair, and the Todd Pletcher-trained winner rewarded her many backers with payouts of $5.80, $3 and $2.40 as the 9-5 favorite.

Phola is owned in partnership by George Saufley, Graydon Patterson, William Patterson, Happy Broadbent, Barry Stilz, Bill Robbins and J.J. Pletcher.

An allowance winner in her previous start at Gulfstream Park, the four-year-old filly rated at the back of the pack as In My Glory (Honour and Glory) established splits in :24 4/5, :50 1/5 and 1:14 3/5. She launched her rally on the far turn and swung out at least five-wide into the stretch, closing down the middle of course under confident handling from jockey Ramon Dominguez to stop the teletimer in 1:52 2/5.

Cure for Sale (Arg) (Not for Sale), the 2-1 second choice, finished a clear second and paid $3.20 and $2.60. Liberally (Ire) (Statue of Liberty) returned $2.60 for show at 3-1 and was followed under the wire by Ainamaa (Lemon Drop Kid), Coulee (Vicar) and In My Glory. Lady Shakespeare (Theatrical [Ire]), Little B Rosson (Bernstein), Sweet and Flawless (Unbridled's Song) and Satans Quick Chick (Sky Mesa) were also scratched.

The exotics totaled $17.80 (exacta), $42.80 (trifecta) and $92.80 (8-4-6-11 superfecta).

Bred in Kentucky by Andover Way and N & P Horse Racing Venture, Phola sold for $50,000 as 2007 Keeneland September yearling and RNA'ed for $47,000 at the 2008 OBS March sale. She's out of the Petionville mare Humbling (Ire), who is also the dam of 2010 colt by Songandaprayer. Phola's second dam is Grade 3 winner Humble Eight (Seattle Battle), the dam of stakes winner and Grade 3 runner-up Stage Call (Ire) (Sadler's Wells). This is the female family of Irish highweight and multiple Group 1 queen Balanchine (Storm Bid), who defeated males in the 1994 Irish Derby (Ire-G1); Group 1 heroine West Wind (GB) (Machiavellian); Group 2 vixen Red Slippers (Nureyev); and Group 2 scorer Romanov (Ire) (Nureyev).

Phola, who owns a third in the 2008 Arlington-Washington Lassie (G3), was making her first stakes start since her juvenile season. The dark bay has now earned $194,545 from a 10-4-2-2 career line.


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