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Strathnaver was back on her game winning the Lady Baltimore Stakes in September at Laurel (above, inside) and looks like a top threat in the Long Island Handicap (Photo courtesy of Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club)

By Ellis Starr – National Racing Analyst for Equibase

The Grade 3, $200,000 Long Island Handicap features a field of eight fillies and mares traversing 1 ½ miles with only a handful of horses having successfully negotiated the trip. Leading the field is Strathnaver, who won the similar Grade 3 Bewitch Stakes at Keeneland in April and who enters the race off a win in the non-graded Lady Baltimore Stakes earlier this fall. Left a Message won the non-graded Flaming Page Stakes at this marathon distance on grass in August and enters the race off a creditable second-place finish in the 1 ½-mile Dowager Stakes last month. Aigue Marine returns from seven months off, last seen finishing a disappointing seventh as the favorite in the similar Orchid Stakes but having won a minor stakes in France in 2012 at the distance. Anjaz finished second in the 1 ½-mile Waya Stakes when last seen this summer. Two races before that, Anjaz ran second in the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay Stakes, so she has proven she belongs at this level. Tabreed, Sheppard’s Pie and White Rose all have just first or second level allowance wins to their credit and should need career-best efforts to contend. Inimitable Romanee rounds out the field. Her last win came in July 2012 and she has been unsuccessful recently in a number of races restricted to New York-breds.

Strathnaver earned a career-best 107 Equibase Speed Figure when victorious in the Bewitch Stakes this past spring. Prior to that, Strathnaver won in her North American debut in March, which followed five months off. Finding the soft turf not to her liking in her start after the Bewitch, Strathnaver also fared poorly in the Modesty Handicap in July. Returning from two months rest in September, however, Strathnaver once again showed her best form when victorious in the Lady Baltimore Stakes, earning a 106 Equibase Speed Figure that she can improve upon back at the 1 ½-mile distance of her biggest stakes win in the Bewitch, her only North American race at the distance.

Left a Message has proven herself in stakes company at the marathon distance of the Long Island and therefore is a serious threat to win the race. Trying the distance for the first time in August, Left a Message was victorious in the Flaming Page Stakes. Two races later, Left a Message rallied from seventh to miss by a half-length in the Dowager Stakes at Keeneland last month, earning a career-best 103 Equibase Speed Figure that, with slight improvement, could put her in the winner's circle in this race.

LEFT A MESSAGE (gray horse, jockey with yellow cap) WAS SECOND IN DOWAGER

Left AMessage

Keeneland photo

Anjaz is winless in four starts since coming to the U.S. from Europe, although she was bred in Kentucky. In her second North American race this past May, Anjaz was runner-up in the Sheepshead Bay Stakes. After a poor seventh-place effort,  she finished second in the Waya Stakes at Saratoga. The Waya was run at the same 1 ½-mile trip as the Long Island Handicap. With a career-best 105 Equibase Speed Figure earned in that race, it may take only a repeat effort to see Anjaz in the thick of the action at the finish line in the Long Island.

The rest of the field (with their best representative Equibase Speed Figure): Aigue Marine (105), Inimitable Romanee (100), Sheppard's Pie (88), Tabreed (101) and White Rose (105).

My Selections:


Left a Message


$200,000 Long Island Handicap

Saturday, Race 8, Aqueduct, 3:43 p.m. ET

1 ½ miles (turf), fillies and mares, 3 years old and older







Inimitable Romanee (NY)

Chris DeCarlo


Graham Motion


Anjaz (KY)

Javier Castellano


Tom Albertrani


Aigue Marine (GB)

Irad Ortiz Jr.


Christophe Clement


Tabreed (GB)

Junior Alvarado


Christophe Clement


Left a Message (KY)

Alex Solis


Tom Proctor


Strathnaver (GB)

Rajiv Maragh


Graham Motion


White Rose (KY)

Junior Ortiz


Bill Mott


Sheppard's Pie (PA)

Cornelio Velasquez


Jonathan Sheppard


Image Description

Ellis Starr

National Racing Analyst for Equibase, Fan Education Specialist, Bettor, Magister of Equine Prognostication (Handicapper).

Image Description

Ellis Starr

National Racing Analyst for Equibase, Fan Education Specialist, Bettor, Magister of Equine Prognostication (Handicapper).

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