She’s back and better than ever, if Hessonite’s seasonal debut in the Beaugay Stakes is any indication.
Last of six in the 2012 Beaugay on yielding turf before going on to win four stakes and a second straight New York-bred title, Hessonite ($9.80) turned in an exhilarating performance in this year’s edition to inhale the leaders in deep stretch under minimal urging from Junior Alvarado, who swept Saturday’s first two graded turf stakes of the year in New York.
In notching a well-deserved first career stakes victory, Hessonite left little doubt as to her superiority this particular day, saving ground on both turns, angling out for a clear lane in the stretch and exploding past the leaders under her own courage to win by a deceptively easy margin of three-quarters of a length.
Peace Preserver outfinished odds-on favorite Dream Peace for second. Suroff set the pace and faded to fourth, followed by Naples Bay and Ruthenia in the field of six.
In finishing off a New York-bred sweep of the day’s Grade 3 turf races for offspring of Freud, Hessonite hardly broke a sweat after 1 1/16 miles in 1:40.82 on a very firm Widener course. Students of time will note the Beaugay was nearly two full seconds slower than the Fort Marcy an hour earlier.
Alvarado rode Lubash to victory in the Fort Marcy.
“I knew how much filly I had, and I knew I had horses right in front of me,” said Alvarado. “I knew if I could find a way I would win the race. All I can tell you is she was unbelievable. Once she was clear, she just took off right away, like she was coming out of the gate. It was amazing.”
Hessonite won for the 10th time in 19 starts for trainer David Donk, who has trained the 5-year-old mare since she was a juvenile.
“She looks great, that’s the best she’s ever looked,” said Donk. “It was important to win a graded stake today and maybe on to bigger and better things. I’ve always had the Sheepshead Bay on the radar, with the Mount Vernon as a fallback if things didn’t work out today.”
The Sheepshead Bay is scheduled for May 25, the Mount Vernon on June 1.