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Jockey Javier Castellano and Hit It Rich return after winning the Long Island Handicap.
The last graded stakes race on the turf in New York is the $150,000 Long Island Handicap (G3). A field of 8 older fillies and mares contested this 1 1/2 mile trip around 3 turns of the Aqueduct course on Saturday afternoon, under sunny skies and temperatures in the mid 50's. Glens Falls (G3) winner Emerald Beech was sent off as the 9-5 favorite off a fourth place effort in the Flower Bowl Invitational (G1) last out. In to challenge her included last year's winner and 2-1 second choice Mekong Melody, off a 9th place finish in the E.P. Taylor Stakes (G1), and 9-2 third choice Hit It Rich, an allowance winner last out after finishing 8th in the Paris Opera Stakes at Saratoga.
First time by with Hit It Rich following pacesetter Unbridled Essence.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 5 Hit It Rich Castellano 10.80 5.50 3.90 7 Mekong Melody Maragh 3.90 3.00 3 Musical Rain Dominguez 4.10 Winning Time: 2:30.39 $2 Exacta 5-7 36.80 $2 Trifecta 5-7-3 176.50 $2 Superfecta 5-7-3-4 536.00
Left: Hit It Rich in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Shug McGaughey said, "I figured on paper, we could kind of dictate what we wanted to do and that's pretty much what happened. Javier let her kind of stalk (Unbridled Essence). When she came by us (first time) she was just galloping along on a long rein. I thought Javier won the race when he let her spurt away on the turn and open up. It kind of took some of those other fillies out of the race. I think this is a pretty big move forward to go from a three-other-than into something like this. We'll give her a little break and hopefully next summer she'll be the kind that can maybe participate in some of the bigger races."
Right: Hit It Rich in the post parade.
Left: Hit It Rich in the paddock. Jockey Javier Castellano said, "It looked there wasn't much speed at all, but (Unbridled Essence) rushed and wanted to dictate the pace. I let her dictate the pace and I just kept tracking right behind the speed. The pace was very slow and my filly loved to gallop right next to the lead. It was wonderful. When I asked her she focused and took off. She galloped out strong and it looked like she never tired at all."
Right: Second place finisher Mekong Melody returns after the race. The 2-1 second choice raced 4th early under Rajiv Maragh, came through between horses late to finish second beaten 1 1/2 lengths. The Roger Attfield trainee improved her record to 7 wins, 6 seconds, and 3 thirds in 28 starts, earning $595,872 for owner-breeder David Egan.
Left: Third place finisher Musical Rain in the paddock. The 6-1 fourth choice raced last 10 lengths off the pace early under Ramon Dominguez then rallied late to get third beaten 3 1/4 lengths. The Dale Romans trainee improved her record to 3 wins, 5 seconds, and 5 thirds in 26 starts, earning $123,552 for owners Brous Stable and Wachtel Stable.
Right: Fifth place finisher and beaten favorite Emerald Beech in the post parade. The 9-5 favorite raced in 6th early 5 lengths back under Alex Solis, but when asked late, came up empty and finished 5th beaten 5 3/4 lengths. The Jonathan Sheppard trainee has a record of 5 wins, 1 second, and 3 thirds in 17 starts, earning $264,838 for owner-breeder Augustin Stables.
The new Resorts World Casino at Aqueduct. After 10 years of delays, the casino, run by Genting Group of Malaysia, finally opened its doors on Friday, October 28. The facility includes about 2500 video lottery terminals, with another 2500 on the second floor opening by the end of the year, a food court, the Bar 360 Lounge, and the Aqueduct Buffet. The casino is open daily from 8am to 4am. Over 65,000 visitors came on opening weekend. However, parts are not yet complete, most notably the access ramp to the Aqueduct subway station which is being replaced by a Skybridge.
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