Akilina Fights Back in Pago Hop

Proving no disappointment to the fans who backed her down to 11-10 favoritism, Oak Bluff Stables’ Akilina came from off the pace to gain the advantage in mid-stretch and prevail by a head in Saturday’s featured $60,000 Pago Hop Stakes at Fair Grounds.

The daughter of Langfuhr trained by Christophe Clement shipped to New Orleans from Florida, toured the about one mile distance over the Stall-Wilson turf course rated “soft” in 1:40.03, returned mutuels of $4.20, $2.80 and $2.20 and increased her career earnings to $246,310 with her sixth victory in 13 lifetime starts.

“She handled the soft turf very well,” said winning rider Shaun Bridgmohan, who was completing a riding triple at Fair Grounds before running to catch a flight to Houston for Sam Houston Race Park’s Texas Champions Day program. “She drifted out briefly in the stretch but when circumstances allowed I was able to take corrective action and straighten her out before any damage was done.”

Good Tyme Racing’s Dancin Perfect, void of early foot, rallied boldly when set down for the drive and passed Akilina briefly in mid-stretch but could not stay with the winner late. Dancin Perfect crossed the wire three lengths clear of the third-place finisher.

“I went by (the winner),” said jockey Shane Sellers, who was aboard Dancin Perfect, “but she (Akalina) came back and put her head in front of me (at the wire)….That’s a solid little filly that came back to win.”

Dancin Perfect paid $10.80 and $5.80, while finishing third was Team Block’s Askbut I Won’ttell, who returned $4.40.

Redreamit set the early fractions of 24.67 and 49.55 before tiring to finish sixth.

Racing resumes Sunday at Fair Grounds for the 17th day of the 2009-2010 Thoroughbred Racing Season Presented by Miller Lite with a 10-race program beginning at 12:30 p.m.