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Veteran Be Bullish charges to the front in Hollie Hughes

By Jon Forbes | 02/17/2014 05:10 PM ET
Be Bullish
PHOTO/Jon Forbes

Be Bullish, a 9-year-old making his 75th start, overtook Marriedtothemusic with a furlong to travel and drew off under jockey Taylor Rice en route to a 2 ¾-length victory in the $100,000 Hollie Hughes for New York-bred sprinters on Monday at Aqueduct Racetrack.

It was the second Hollie Hughes win for Be Bullish, who prevailed in the 2011 edition, and first stakes victory for Rice, a 25-year-old apprentice jockey.

Exiting a tough beat when second in a claiming race on January 30, Be Bullish bided his time well off the pace in fourth through an opening quarter-mile in 22.80 seconds before he began an inside rally on the far turn. Marriedtothemusic took the lead nearing the quarter pole but soon found himself challenged by Be Bullish, who was angled outside in upper stretch before he surged past the favorite.

The final time for six furlongs on the inner track was 1:12.05.

"In the turn, I definitely thought I had the horse," said Rice, who won three races on the card. "They weren't running away from me very far and [Be Bullish] started moving, and it was on from there."

Marriedtothemusic finished 2 ¼ lengths ahead of third-place Mine Over Matter, who was followed home by Johannesburg Smile, Freudian Dilemma, and Notmyfirstime.

Be Bullish is trained by David Jacobson, who owns him in partnership with Drawing Away Stable. Coupled in the wagering with Notmyfirstime, Be Bullish returned $7.50 for a $2 win wager.

Be Bullish was trained by Jacobson when he finished third in the 2013 Hollie Hughes, won by his stablemate, Saginaw. Jacobson lost Be Bullish to a $25,000 claim in July before he claimed back the gray gelding two starts later for the same price out of a sixth-place finish in an optional claimer in November at Aqueduct. After being taken back by Jacobson, Be Bullish won an optional claimer for New York-breds by 2 ¾ lengths on January 5 before missing by a nose when second in a $50,000 open claiming race on January 30.

In addition to his 2011 Hollie Hughes victory and third-place finish in 2013, Be Bullish also was third in the 2009 and 2012 renewals of the race.

"I said after his last race, 'He's as good as he's ever been,'" said Jacobson, who also won three races on Monday. "Today proves I was right. I've watched his whole career, when Scott Schwartz had him, when Rick Dutrow had him [when he won the 2011 Hollie Hughes]. When Rick had him he was very sharp. He's close to that, if not there."

Although Rice did not receive an apprentice allowance in the Hollie Hughes, Jacobson did not hesitate to name her aboard Be Bullish.

"She impressed me so much with the way she has been riding with her bug, and I felt she would be the right fit for this horse," said Jacobson. "And she is, and she will ride this horse back again next time."

Be Bullish, 14-23-12 in 75 starts, has earned $946,568, including $60,000 for his Hollie Hughes victory. The son of Pure Prize was bred by Carol and Herbert Schwartz.