Courtesy of NYRA By Keith McCalmont Elmont, NY (May 8, 2021) – Tommy Town Thoroughbreds’ Victim of Love utilized a stalk-and-pounce approach under Joel Rosario to successfully defend her title in Saturday’s 71st renewal of the Grade 3, $150,000 Vagrancy Handicap, a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for older fillies and mares at Belmont Park.
Trained by Todd Beattie, the 5-year-old Speightstown mare entered the Vagrancy from her seasonal debut in a runner-up effort in an optional-claiming sprint in February at Laurel Park.
Pacific Gale, with Hall of Famer John Velazquez up, went off as the 3-2 mutuel favorite off of back-to-back graded-stakes wins at Gulfstream Park to launch her 6-year-old season, but broke slowly and spotted the field several lengths.
Sadie Lady was sent to the lead by Kendrick Carmouche through splits of 23.01 seconds and 45.64 on the fast main track as Victim of Love kept close watch from second position. Pacific Gale was rushed up between rivals after her poor beginning and maintained a stalking position from third outside of the rail riding Piedi Bianchi.
Rosario asked Victim of Love for more late in the turn and took the lead at the head of the stretch as Pacific Gale launched her bid. Sadie Lady dug in gamely at the rail but an in-command Victim of Love stayed on strong for a 2 1/4-length win in a final time of 1:17.27. Sadie Lady held second by a nose over Pacific Gale. Piedi Bianchi and Honor Way rounded out the order of finish. Kiss the Girl and French Empire scratched.
Victim of Love was a 27-1 winner of last year’s Vagrancy after finishing a well-beaten fifth in the one-mile Nellie Morse at Laurel the race prior.
“Last year when she came here, she was a big price because she ran badly in the Nellie Morse when we tried her going longer. I tried to rate her, but she wasn’t happy about that,” said Beattie. “She wants to be up there and involved early. That’s her number. The distance is perfect. Six and a half or seven furlongs is ideal. She can go a mile, but not at this level.”
Beattie said Victim of Love could return to Belmont for the Grade 3, $300,000 Bed O’ Roses on June 4.
Rosario, who won his fourth race on the card, was full of praise for the four-time stakes winning mare, who also captured the 2020 What A Summer at Laurel Park and the 2019 Island Fashion at Sunland Park.
“She came home really nicely and exploded at the end and I was really proud of that effort. She put in a really nice race,” said Rosario. “She’s fast and it was a very good performance.”
Bred in Kentucky by Daniel J. Burke, Victim of Love banked $82,500 in victory and improved her record to 18-6-3-3. She returned $6.30 for a $2 win bet.