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Akilina, Elision Vie in Saturday's Pago Hop
Oak Bluff Stables’ Akilina, an invader from New York who finished third in Aqueduct’s $65,000 Flitalong Stakes at last asking Nov. 18, has been installed as the 3-1 morning line choice in Saturday’s 24th running of the $60,000 Pago Hop Stakes for sophomore fillies over Fair Grounds’ Stall-Wilson turf course.
Trained by French-born Christophe Clement, internationally known as a top conditioner of grass runners, Akilina won her two previous outings in October at Belmont, including a three-length tally in an overnight stakes restricted to New York-breds. Shaun Bridgmohan has been named to ride the homebred daughter of the good grass sire Langfuhr. Clement won the 2003 Pago Hop with Howard Spinks’ Snowdrops.
Capable of providing strong competition for Akilina at 5-1 in the morning line is Pin Oak Stable’s Elision, an Elusive Quality filly who has won her last two starts while advancing in allowance company over the Canadian grass course at Woodbine. She is trained by Malcolm Pierce, who saddled Live Oak Plantation’s Autobahn Girl to win the 2007 Pago Hop. Corey Lanerie is listed in the saddle Saturday.
Redreamit, who won Monmouth’s $65,000 Twin Lights Stakes last Sept. 7, and Dancin Perfect, who won in the allowance ranks over the local turf Nov. 13, both merit consideration. The latter is trained by Mike Burgess, who saddled Lucas Downs Ltd.’s Love to Tell to win last year’s Pago Hop with Torres aboard.
From the rail out, the Pago Hop field consists of Elision, Corey Lanerie; Akilina, Shaun Bridgmohan; Askbut I Won’ttell, James Graham; Ariana D., Francisco Torres; Icy Kitten, John Jacinto; Bubbler, Eddie Martin Jr.; Going to the Sun, Richard Eramia; Chartreux, Brian Hernandez Jr.; Dancin Perfect, Shane Sellers; Redreamit, Robby Albarado; and Stone Legacy, entered for main track only with Albarado getting a second call.