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Halina’s Forte a sharp winner of the Ruthless S. for Mitole

February 18, 2024

Halina’s Forte drew off in the final furlong to register a 1 ¾-length victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Ruthless S. at Aqueduct, the first stakes win for the 3-year-old Mitole filly.

Second in a pair of Fair Grounds stakes at the end of her 2-year-old campaign, Halina’s Forte made her first trip to New York for the seven-furlong Ruthless.

The bay filly broke on top, then settled nicely in fourth behind a trio intent on the lead. Midway on the turn Halina’s Forte began a three-wide move for the lead and was a length from the front turning for home. She went by Ghalia Princess in midstretch and pulled away to wrap up the distance in 1:26.26 on a “good” main track.

“She broke very well,” said winning rider Eric Cancel. “I wasn’t scared of what position I could get with her. I just wanted to have a clean trip–I didn’t have any trouble with her. She had a little trouble last time when she ran, so I think that really cost her a lot. But today, that wasn’t the case. I just kept in the clear and once I started asking her, she just started picking it up.”

Halina’s Forte is 2-2-0 in four starts and has earned $149,900 for Rigney Racing LLC. Bred by Bill & Corinne Heiligbrodt and A. F. & B. Vanlangendonck, the Florida-bred sold for $250,000 at the 2022 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Yearling sale.

Mitole, last year’s champion First-Crop sire, currently ranks second on the 2024 Second-Crop list. His 3-year-old colt Carbone is on the Triple Crown trail and will make his next start on Feb. 24 in the $1.25 million Rebel S. (G2) at Oaklawn Park.