Godolphin's Lady Montdore will look to build on her strong start since arriving from France when she competes against a 14-horse field in Saturday's Grade 3, $400,000 Long Island for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up at Aqueduct Racetrack.
One of three stakes on a 10-race card that also includes the Grade 3, $200,000 Discovery and the $125,000 Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship, the 62nd edition of the Long Island, contested at 1 3/8 miles on the inner turf, will see Lady Montdore in her first start since running third behind Onthemoonagain and winner Fourstar Crook in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl at 1 ¼ miles October 7 on Belmont Park's inner turf.
After making her first five career starts in France trained by Andre Fabre, Lady Montdore made an impression in her first North American start when she rallied to defeat allowance company by 4 ½ lengths, earning a 91 Beyer Speed Figure for her effort on August 6 at Saratoga Race Course. The 4-year-old Medaglia d'Oro filly then won again over the same track and again at the Long Island distance when she went gate-to-wire to capture the Grade 2 Glens Falls on September 1.
“She's been training very well heading into the race,” Albertrani said. “She's been pretty steady ever since she ran her first race at Saratoga, which I liked. If anything, she's been training a little more forwardly coming into this race, which I like to see. If she keeps up the same type of form in the last couple of races, hopefully we'll get a real good effort out of her.”
Lady Montdore's last seven starts, including her last four in France, have come at distances ranging from 1 1/2 miles to 1 3/4 miles, giving Albertrani optimism. All three of her U.S. races have come on turf labeled good, which could set her up well in her Aqueduct debut.
“I'm very confident she'll have no problem handling the distance at all,” Albertrani said. “A lot depends on what the ground will be like with the weather, but it seems like she can handle the soft ground quite easily, so I wouldn't mind if it came up a little on the soft side.”
Jockey Manny Franco, who was aboard for the Glens Falls win and the Flower Bowl, will have the return call from post 2.
“She's pretty versatile. Last time, she never really got into a good rhythm as there was a lot of cat-and-mouse going on along the backside,” Albertrani said. “She ran up to the front in and Manny took a hold of her because he didn't want to get into a speed duel. In hindsight, it might have been better to let her go on a little bit more, but hopefully we'll get her into a good rhythm [Saturday] and go from there. Manny has a good feel for her over the last couple of races and hopefully we'll get the trip that we need.”
Another entry with international pedigree, Si Que Es Buena, will look to parlay the success she had in South America into a successful career in the United States. After winning five of her 12 starts in Peru, the Argentinian-bred 5-year-old has been training at Fair Hill in Maryland, as Graham Motion took over the training duties.
Takaya Shimskawa's Si Que Es Buena won the Group 3 Clasico Republica Argentina on May 27 at 1 ¼ miles and ran seventh in the Group 1 Clasico Pamplona on June 24 in her last start at Hipodromo De Monterrico before arriving in the country. Motion said her connections wanted to race her as soon as possible, giving Motion a chance to assess her form against graded stakes company.
“The owners were quite keen to continue with her. Often when these South American horses come, we put them away for six months, but they wanted to keep going with her, and she's handled everything very smoothly,” Motion said. “I feel like every time I've breezed her, there's been a progression. Her form is a little bit vague; I'm a little unsure of it exactly. I felt like this is what she wants to do, and this time of year, there aren't many opportunities. It's one of the last opportunities to go a little longer on the grass.
“I'm not 100 percent sure she needs to go this far, but I'm looking forward to getting it started,” he added.
Rajiv Maragh will pick up the mount from post 4.
Trainer Chad Brown will saddle three European-bred contenders in Night of England, Pollara and Lady Paname.
Despite her name, Night of England made her first seven starts in Germany, including a third, defeated by a half-length, in the Group 3 Mehl Mulhens Trophy Hamburger Stutenpreis at the Long Island distance on July 7 at Hamburg, as well as second to Well Timed in the Group 1 Henkel-Preis der Diana – German Oak on August 5 in Dusseldorf. The 3-year-old only started official workouts in the United States on November 5, recording three breezes at Belmont Park. Jose Ortiz will ride from post 11.
Pollara, an Irish bred, also has earned group stakes black type, winning the Group 3 Prix de Royamount at France's Chantilly on June 3. She made her North American debut with a sixth-place finish in the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor over turf labeled good at Woodbine on October 13. The 3-year-old daughter of Camelot drew post 1 in tandem with Joel Rosario.
Lady Paname won her first U.S. start, gaining the lead in the final sixteenth to hold off So Charming in an allowance victory on October 17 at Belmont. The French-bred 4-year-old Solider of Fortune filly will exit post 10 with Irad Ortiz, Jr.
Jon A. Marshall's Tricky Escape saw her three-race win streak snapped with a sixth-place effort in the Flower Bowl. After leading a quarter-mile in, the 5-year-old Hat Trick mare tired on the Belmont turf. But the three-time graded stakes winner has three wins in four starts since Lynn Ashby took over training duties, including a 1 1/2-length score in the Grade 3 Robert G. Dick Memorial on July 7 at Delaware Park, followed by a 3 ¾-length win in the Fasig-Tipton Waya on August 12 at Saratoga and a win by a head over Mom's On Strike in the Ramsey Farm on September 13 at Kentucky Downs.
Jockey Dylan Davis will ride Tricky Escape for the first time, breaking from post 5.
Danceland will be aiming for her first stakes win after two strong showings in graded stakes, finishing fourth in the Flower Bowl after going three-wide in the upper stretch, and a third-place Glens Falls effort. Trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, Danceland has posted two of her four career wins in her 4-year-old campaign, including a win over optional claimers on August 2 at Saratoga at 1 1/8 miles.
Jose Lezcano will be in the irons from post 7.
Rounding out the field will be a pair of entries looking for their first respective stakes wins in Violet Blue, trained by Jimmy Toner and ridden by Junior Alvarado, from post 3; and Pamina, conditioned by Michael Dickinson and piloted by Hall of Famer Edgar Prado, out of post 8.
A pair of fillies who started their careers in France – Gipoia and Golden Attitude – will be seeking their first North American stakes wins for trainer Mikel Delzangles and Arnaud Delacour, respectively.
Sexy Reasons, trained by Todd Pletcher; Unbridledadventure, conditioned by Bruce Levine; and the David Donk-trained Matty's Magnum are entered for the main track only.
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