The $400,000 Long Island Stakes (G3) tops Saturday’s card at Aqueduct Racetrack in New York, with two other supporting stakes preceding the big race. A full field of 12 is expected to run, with three also eligibles on the outside hoping to get in, especially if extreme weather forces the race to the main track. It is currently slated to be run at 1 3/8 miles on the turf.
The race for older fillies and mares is topped by Si Que Es Buena (3-1), who breaks from the rail. She has won two of her last three starts; both of those were at Gulfstream Park after running fourth in this race last year. She was then off for 10 months before returning in tough company, the grade 1 EP Taylor at Woodbine. She ran a respectable sixth that day for trainer Graham Motion. Joel Rosario will ride.
Empressof the Nile (7-2) is the favorite’s stablemate. She is unbeaten on this course but zero for three at the distance. She is coming off a win here going 12 furlongs on November 3 under Irad Ortiz, Jr., who has ridden her the last four starts and gets aboard again for this. She was second in grade 2 company at Saratoga three back, missing by less than a length.
Aside from the top two, there are several options at higher odds. Homeland Security (6-1) ran second behind Empressof the Nile last out, beaten just a half-length. She won a stakes at Monmouth the start before, and is five for 13 lifetime. She has never won over the distance but is tractable and can either rally from well back or sit just off the pace and make a move.
Lift Up (10-1) is trained by Michael Dickinson. The Ghostzapper mare is out of Dynamic Cat, by Dynaformer. She has never run here, but was a stakes winner at Woodbine on November 2, taking the grade 3 Maple Leaf. She has won three of six starts this year and has two solid works on grass since.
My Sister Nat (8-1) is the Chad Brown entrant in this race. She was a group winner in France before coming over earlier this year, but has done no better than third in three starts. Jose Ortiz gets aboard for the first time, and this is the younger sister to standout runner Sistercharlie.
Romantic Pursuit (12-1) was second on this course in April while still a maiden, but since then has won two of her last four and been grade 2 placed. She drops out of grade 2 company for this for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, and is one of the best bred horses in the race being by Medaglia d’Oro and out of grade 1 winner Questing.
Pivotal Connection (10-1) was a winner last out for trainer Bill Mott while racing ten furlongs at Belmont Park. She controlled the pace every step that day, and looks to do that again here. She was fourth in her lone start on this course but that was over shorter. Brian Hernandez rides.
The field is completed by Mercilla, Entropia, Decorating, Beau Belle, and More Fun Again. Wegetsdamunnys, Another Broad, and Team Win are on the outside looking in. To bet all the stakes action at Aqueduct on Saturday, visit TVG.