Saturday, November 8, 2014

Aigue Marine wins G3 Long Island in third try

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Aigue Marine wins G3 Long Island in third try

By Sean Morris

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The third time was a charm for Aigue Marine, who rallied along the rail to take the Grade 3, $200,000 Long Island Handicap on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Trained by Christophe Clement for Haras du Mezeray and Skymarc Farm, Aigue Marine finished third in the 2012 edition of the 1 ½-mile turf event for fillies and mares and sixth in last year's running, but ended her career on a high note on Saturday.

Under Hall of Famer John Velazquez, the 5-year-old daughter of Galileo broke from the rail and settled on the inside within range of Invading Humor, who towed the field through fractions of 24.89 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, 51.16 for the half, 1:18.00 for three-quarters and 1:44.67 for a mile.

Velazquez remained patient and committed to saving ground, even as 8-5 favorite Danza Cavallo slingshotted past at the top of the stretch. When a seam presented itself, the veteran rider calmly guided Aigue Marine out a path and the bay mare did the rest, rallying along the fence to defeat Danza Cavallo by a neck.

"There were only two speed horses, and I [thought I'd] come out of there and get it the way I wanted, try to sit and wait, and that's the way it worked out," said Velazquez. "I had to bide my time inside the quarter-pole, but at the three-sixteenth pole she came running. I wanted to make sure I had room. Once I cleared the horse inside [me], and I pulled her out, she was running really good, and I said 'I'm going to get there.'"

Clement, who teamed up with Velazquez to take this year's Grade 3 Glens Falls with Irish Mission, was quick to praise the Hall of Fame rider following the race, and joked that he should start riding him more.

"The trip [John Velazquez] gave her was between superb and unbelievable; that's what you call 'saving ground,'" said the trainer, who added that Aigue Marine would now be retired. "She went a bit off form last time, otherwise she's always been a nice filly. We've tried to win the Long Island with her for a few years; it's wonderful she's done it this year. She's going to go back to Europe and become a broodmare now."

Aigue Marine completed the distance in 2:35.37 over ground labeled yielding, and returned $15.20 on a $2 win wager. Her Long Island victory boosted her career earnings to $423,555.

Maximova, also trained by Clement, took the overland route into the stretch and held third by a half-length over Songoficeandfire. Tabreed, Meri Shika, Auld Alliance, Hellenistic, Invading Humor, Viva Rafaela, Giant Shadow and Embarr completed the order of finish.



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