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Hawksmoor controls pace in New York Stakes

ELMONT, N.Y. -- When Hawksmoor defeated Dacita in the Grade 3 Beaugay Stakes here four weeks ago, she did so over a yielding turf course she loved and at a distance, 1 1/16 miles, that was well within her grasp.

Friday, in the Grade 2, $500,000 New York Stakes, Hawksmoor had to navigate 1 1/4 miles over firm ground. Once again, however, her speed proved too dangerous a weapon to deny as she led every step of the way under Julien Leparoux to win the New York by one length over Quidura. It was 1 1/2 lengths back to Kitten's Roar in third.

Sea Calisi was fourth followed by Suffused, the 5-2 favorite; Dacita, last year's New York winner; Apple Betty, and Summersault. Sassy Little Lila scratched to run in Saturday's Grade 1 Just a Game.

The scratch of Sassy Little Lila actually was important to Hawksmoor as she was the only other speed in the field.

"The fact that she scratched probably helped us because we were able to get a comfortable lead and she and Julien did the rest," said trainer Arnaud Delacour.

Hawksmoor was a touch keen for the opening quarter-mile when she opened up a 2 1/2-length lead in 24.27 seconds. But she slowed things down while maintaining a clear advantage through a half-mile in 49.72 and six furlongs in 1:15.57.

Quidura, who stalked Hawksmoor from second under Javier Castellano, got within a half-length of her at the quarter pole, but Hawksmoor spurted clear again in midstretch and held Quidura at bay.

"I got a little bit scared the first quarter because it looked like she was pulling a little bit," Delacour said. "When we saw the time for half mile, 49.72, I was very happy then. I knew they were going to have to come and get her. I don't know the filly too well, but she proved she can have an efficient turn of foot on firm turf."

Hawksmoor, an Irish-bred daughter of Azamour owned by Roy and Gretchen Jackson's Lael Stable, covered the 1 1/4 miles in 2:01.18 and returned $25.40.

Dacita, who it appeared would have benefitted from racing on firm ground, broke outward at the start, never got position, and was compromised by the lack of pace.

"They were going slow and the [course] was fast today," jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. said.