Grace Hill game in TVG Mares Pace

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Grace Hill proved that her Breeders Crown win was no fluke when driver Todd McCarthy guided her to a virtual wire-to-wire victory in a career best 1:48.3 clocking to capture Saturday night’s (Nov. 26) $158,000 TVG Mares Pace final at the Meadowlands.

Grace Hill and McCarthy left the gate swiftly at the outset, and they ended up parked through most of the :26.2 opening quarter by Treacherous Dragon and Scott Zeron before clearing to the front. No Win No Feed A, Gia’s Surreal and Niki Hill all left for position from the outside, with favored Test Of Faith and David Miller allowing Niki Hill to settle in front of her before the quarter pole. McCarthy kept a brisk clip with Grace Hill going to the half-mile pole and reached that station in :54.3 before Dunn and Niki Hill pulled to the outside without cover, providing a solid tow for defending Horse of the Year Test Of Faith.

On the final turn, Grace Hill accelerated and made the outside pair of Niki Hill and Test Of Faith work hard, reaching three-quarters in 1:21.4. Grace Hill gained separation from the pocket-sitting Treacherous Dragon and was in complete command for much of the stretch as the anticipated showdown with Test Of Faith didn’t quite develop as it had in the Breeders Crown. Grace Hill completed the mile with a :26.4 final quarter, winning by 1-1/2 lengths, while Niki Hill — a 3-year-old racing against older mares for the first time — gamely held off Test Of Faith in the battle for the second-place spot. Gia’s Surreal rallied for fourth with Treacherous Dragon fifth.

Tom Hill swept the top two places in the event as owner of both Grace Hill and Niki Hill. A 4-year-old by Always B Miki, Grace Hill was a winner for the 19th time during her career. Virgil Morgan Jr. conditions the millionaire mare, who was bred in New Jersey at White Birch Farms.

“She did all the work in the Breeders Crown,” said Morgan, defending his mare for a gutsy performance at Woodbine Mohawk Park. “She did all the work tonight. Todd did a great job with her.”

“She dug right in, she didn’t want to let them pass her,” said McCarthy of Grace Hill’s performance.

Grace Hill returned $13.60 to win as the 5-1 third choice in the wagering.