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Porte Bonheur looking for a little Luck in Vagrancy

ELMONT, N.Y. – Her name means “Lucky Charm” in French, but Porte Bonheur’s connections believe the filly can make her own luck at Belmont Park in Sunday’s 59th running of the Grade 2, $150,000 Vagrancy Handicap for fillies and mares going six and one-half furlongs.

The 4-year-old daughter of Hennessy is coming off a winter layoff spent in Ocala, Fla., where she began training again in January. She closed out her three-year-old season with a win over the Polytrack at Woodbine in the Ontario Fashion Stakes, a calculated move intended to see how she would handle synthetics in anticipation of a possible Breeders’ Cup start in the Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita this fall.

“The ultimate goal is to go to the Breeders’ Cup, so we wanted to get a fresh filly,” said trainer David Duggan. “There were no plans to start her before now – she went back into training on the first of January, so she’s been on the go for a long time. We’re looking at the First Flight (Grade 2, June 28, 7 furlongs) at Belmont and then the Ballerina (Grade 1, 7 furlongs, August 29) at Saratoga, if we’re good enough. And I think she’s good enough.”

With five wins and two thirds in nine lifetime starts so far, Porte Bonheur has lived up to her name. Though Duggan says she can be a bit flighty, he finds she settles right down to business running with cotton earplugs, with which she regularly trains and will run on Sunday. She also reunites with jockey Ramon Dominguez, under whom she is undefeated, winning back-to-back stakes in Saratoga last summer, the Flanders Stakes followed by the Grade 3 Victory Ride in August.

Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren’s Carolyn’s Cat looks to continue an upward trend since returning from a 10-month layoff this past March. Winner of the Grade 3 Cicada at Aqueduct in 2008, the 4-year-old Forestry filly has made two starts in 2009, running fourth in the Missy’s Mirage Stakes at Aqueduct on March 27, and second in the Elizabeth Bay Stakes at Belmont on May 6.

“She’s been improving with every start,” said Art Magnuson, assistant to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. “She’s run back twice now and she couldn’t be doing any better. We’re pretty happy with the way she’s going now and six and half furlongs is a good distance.”

Also going in the field of five is Zabeel Racing International’s Game Face. The 4-year-old daughter of Menifee has finished in the money in 11 of 12 lifetime starts so far, including a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes last year.

Joseph Shield’s Jr.’s Any Limit will look to even the score with Game Face in the Vagrancy. Game Face and Any Limit traded one-two finishes for the first half of the year with Game Face edging the 6-year-old Any Limit two out of three times in stakes competition at Gulfstream Park.

C.P. Racing Stables’ Are We Dreamin completes the field.



The field for Saturday’s 59th running of the Grade 2 Vagrancy Handicap:

PP. HORSE TRAINER JOCKEY WGT.

1. Are We Dreamin Randi Persaud Rajiv Maragh 112

2. Carolyn’s Cat Kiaran McLaughlin Alan Garcia 115

3. Porte Bonheur David Duggan Ramon Dominguez 116

4. Game Face Todd Pletcher John Velazquez 122

5. Any Limit H. Allen Jerkens Cornelio Velasquez 121

 

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