Grace Hill loomed very large on paper going into the Sept. 25 Homegrown Pace for 3-year-old fillies at Freehold Raceway. She had won four races in a row, including a series of high-profile stakes.
It may not have been as visually impressive as some might have expected, but the 1-20 favorite obliged, winning by three-quarters of a length in 1:53.2, according to a press release.
Leaving from post position three, George Brennan elected to rate his filly in the pocket and let Podium Girl set the early fractions. That one set a moderate tempo early, going the opening quarter in :28 and the first half-mile in 57 1/5 seconds. All the while, Brennan was patient with Grace Hill.
As the horses turned for home, Podium Girl was still in front and for a short while it looked like there might be a big upset.
However, as soon as Brennan angled Grace Hill off the pylons, she easily overtook Podium Girl and cruised under the wire in front.
The winning filly is owned by Tom Hill and trained by Nifty Norman. Her career earnings are now more than $638,000. On the year, she has won six times from 13 starts.
Earlier in the card, JM’s Finaltreasure was an easy winner of the Renaissance pace for 2-year-old colts and geldings.
Joe Bongiorno left with his drive and set the early pace, and was never in serious danger of giving up the lead. He cruised under the wire a one-and-one-half-length winner, stopping the clock in 1:53.4.
The winner is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, J&T Silva – Purnel & Libby and Phillip Collura, and trained by Ron Burke.
The Homegrown for 3-year-old colts and geldings drew a field of four and as such was held as a non-betting race.
Imaginary Line, off a win in the New Jersey Sire Stakes – Standardbred Development Fund final, won gate-to-wire, covering the distance in 1:53.1. Bongiorno once again had the winning drive, for owners Robert Weinstein and Joshua Graber, and trainer Jenn Bongiorno.
Live racing resumes at Freehold Raceway on Oct. 1 at 12:30 p.m.