Today for Weekend Handicapping we are heading back to New York and take a look at the 55th running of the Long Island Handicap (G3), going three turns at Aqueduct (1 ½ miles) on grass for a purse of $150,000. A field of 8 fillies and mares has entered for this last graded race of the year in New York.
Like many G3 races we get today a bevy of horses who are trying to find their class level, return to past form or making an effort to break free of the “woulda, shoulda, coulda” label. This is a tough race to handicap for we don’t know which horse finds itself ready to win today. There will be three contenders and one “Bombs Away”. You can consider the remaining 3 of 4 to be dark horses, the #8 Akris Queen doesn’t fit this race at all.
#6 Emerald Beech ML 8/5
She will be the favorite and so no value for this race. You can’t ignore this 5YO mare that has won 4 of 6 this season, including the Glen Falls(G3) and a decent 4th in the G1 Flower Bowl. Her Beyer’s are the best of this group, and she has won at this distance. There really isn’t much speed in this race, and her versatile running style suits this pace. Solis has ridden her well and see no reason for it not to continue.
#4 Hasay (GB) ML 8/1
This lightly raced filly is making her 5th start of her 4YO season and was doing quite nicely until her last outing at Keeneland. She was in a tough field in the Dowager and finished up the track going 5 wide. What makes her attractive today, is her consistent Beyer’s (79-80-88-82) and she her trainer Graham Motion is a sharpshooter with turf horses, winning 20%. The real angle for me here is Morales is back in the irons. He rode her to victory two back in the Omnibus $75K and if he races her forwardly like he did in that one, she should be there at the end.
#7 Mekong Melody (IRE) ML 5/2
I will probably regret this, but the only reason I have her here is she is the defending champion of this race, otherwise she wouldn’t even be listed. She had a solid 5YO campaign but this season is 0 for 6. Granted all of her races have been at the G1 or 2 level and had some decent showings but her racing line is filled with troubled trips, flattened out, no threat etc. Attfield is a great trainer and one I admire greatly, but this mare is a real puzzle at 6YO. She showed great Beyers in July but hasn’t been the same since. Maragh is riding her and that does count for something, if Attfield has turned her around then she could be the one, but not so sure today.
#3 Musical Rain ML 6/1
She won coming off the bench in an OC$50K at Belmont and has shown flashes of good speed in G3 company. There is no doubt it will require a big effort today. I like the Romans/ Dominguez connection and if Ramon rides up and tight like last outing she could surprise and deliver the goods. This 4YO filly might be ready to step up today.
6 – 4 – 7
Will be handicapping the Guaranteed $20,000 Pick 4 at Balmoral Park at my blog, http://the-clocker.blogspot.com/