Mia’s Crusade took advantage of an early stalking trip and then took control at the sixteenth pole to score a half-length victory in the $65,000 Pinot Grigio Handicap during the Monmouth-at-Meadowlands meet – the 4-year-old filly’s third win in Jersey-bred stakes company this year.
Trained by Chuck Spina and ridden by Jomar Torres, Mia’s Crusade tracked early speedster Amazing Graces Joy through an opening quarter of :22.64 before Torres urged her to draw even with the leader in a :46.15 half. Mia’s Crusade, owned by Joseph and Gayle Ioia and Spina, surged past a stubborn Amazing Graces Joy in deep stretch and then had enough in reserve to hold off the late charge of longshot Sadie Baby, who rallied for second.
Amazing Graces Joy was three-quarters of a length back in third.
The winning time for the five furlongs over a turf course listed as good was :58.21.
Mia’s Crusade, a daughter of Greenpointcrusader, improved to 6-2-2 from 16 career starts, including 3-for-5 this year. She previously won the Eleven North Handicap and Spruce Fir Handicap, both during the Monmouth Park meet.
The victory was also the first in three grass tries for Mia’s Crusade, who paid $6.80 to win.