Exotics Plays for the 2024 Hillsborough Stakes

March 7th, 2024

An accomplished field of eight fillies and mares will run 1 1/8 miles on the Tampa Bay Downs turf oval in Saturday’s $225,000 Hillsborough S. (G2). I think that this is an excellent spot for Saratoga Oaks (G3) heroine #7 Elusive Princess to kick start her four-year-old campaign and will bet her with confidence in the affair, as well as making her a single in the multis. 

Hillsborough Exotics Wagers

  • $40 exacta #7 Elusive Princess with 2 ($40)
  • $15 exacta 7 with 1 ($15)
  • $2 trifecta 7 with 1,2 with 1,2,3,4 ($12)

By Martinborough, the filly flashed a lot of potential as a juvenile when winning two of her trio of tries in 2022, and she built upon that success last season. She was a victress in her sophomore unveiling at Saint Cloud, and then followed that with a pair of runner-up tries in the Group ranks, led by a big showing in the Prix Saint Alary (G1) at Longchamp. 

The French-bred finished fifth to the dual Classic winner Blue Rose Cen in her final European performance, which preceded a standout score at Saratoga in her first offering on U. S. grass. She concluded 2023 with a decent fourth in the Queen Elizabeth II (G1) at Keeneland behind the fantastic Mawj. 

Elusive Princess has put in a handful of morning moves leading up to Saturday, and while she might not be at her absolute best in the race, I expect her to run well nonetheless for a conditioner who is excellent with layoff runners. The four-year-old possesses a measure of early speed and will get the jump on the deeper closing types in the field turning for home. Junior Alvarado will take the reins atop the bay for the initial time. 

For the exotics, Grade 1 vixen #2 Marketsegmentation has to be used for conditioner Chad Brown. The lightly raced daughter of American Pharoah comes off of a fine 2023 season led by tallies in the New York S. (G1), Beaugay S. (G3), and Sand Spring S., and she has obvious room for growth with just eight lifetime races to her credit. In addition to her ability and accomplishments, the mare has the look of controlling speed in the contest, too. 

Brown’s #1 Fluffy Socks is a hard-trying millionaire who will arrive on the scene inside the final furlong. The Slumber mare gave a nice account of herself most recently when rallying to be fourth in the Pegasus Filly and Mare Turf (G1) behind a moderate pace, and she will benefit from the rail draw on Saturday. The genuine six-year-old also gets Irad Ortiz, Jr. in the silks.