Regally-bred La Reina was momentarily collared at the top of the stretch but battled back gamely under jockey John Velazquez to post an impressive three-length victory in the $110,700 Tempted Stakes (gr. III) for 2-year-old fillies at Aqueduct on Tuesday.
La Reina, a daughter of A.P. Indy out of champion Queena, moved towards the leaders down the backstretch and took the field into the turn along the rail with Fond and Baba Gonzo racing in close company. Eye Dazzler, the 5-2 second-choice trained by Mark Hennig, made a strong four-wide move into the stretch and poked about a half-length in front of La Reina at the three-sixteenths pole.
But back came even-money favorite La Reina, who responded to urging and quickly spurted clear of Eye Dazzler to cross the wire three lengths in front. Sisti's Pride finished another 5 1/2 lengths back of Eye Dazzler in third. The final time for one mile on a fast track was 1:36.15.
"I thought that was a very nice effort," said winning trainer Shug McGaughey. "She had only run two times and had not run since September (6). I think she kind of got relaxed there, then Eye Dazzler ran by her, which was what she needed to finish up good."
La Reina, who races for owner-breeder Emory Hamilton, was second in her debut at Saratoga before winning her only other start at Belmont Park in September by five lengths.
McGaughey indicated La Reina's next start would be in the 1 1/8-mile Demoiselle Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct Nov. 29.