Arvada, a two-time winner for trainer Bobby Frankel on turf at Saratoga, is the 117-pound co-highweight for the $150,000 Long Island Handicap (gr. IIT), a race for fillies and mares at a mile and a half on the Aqueduct Park lawn Saturday.
After failing to win entry-level allowances in her first three starts for Frankel, Giles Pritchard Gordon's Arvada broke through going 11 furlongs, then returned 25 days later to wire a division of the Glens Falls Handicap (gr. IIIT) at the same distance. The 4-year-old filly's win became more noteworthy because she defeated Film Maker, who was a good second to Ouija Board last week in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT). Arvada has not run since the Sept. 5 Glens Falls.
"I didn't think she was good enough to run with the best fillies and mares," Frankel said when asked about the time off. "Even though she beat Film Maker, she was getting a lot of weight from her. She got nine pounds from Film Maker that day and only beat her a half-length."
John Velazquez, who earned the Bill Shoemaker Award for outstanding performance by a jockey on Breeders' Cup day with two wins for trainer Todd Pletcher, will ride Arvada.
Earle Mack's Savedbythelight, the other 117-pound co-highweight, will be looking for her first win of 2004. The last time she visited the winner circle was Dec. 20, when she took the Ladies Handicap on dirt. Savedbythelight finished third in the second division of the Glens Falls that produced winning time that was more than a second slower than Arvada's race.
The Long Island features three runners making their first North American starts. Eleusis is the most accomplished 'Euro' in the group having won five of six starts in France, including her last four. The 3-year-old daughter of Diesis
won her last start, the Oct. 1 Prix Joubert at Chantilly. Jose Santos has the call on Eleusis, who will be coupled in the wagering with Noble Stella, a German-bred shipper from Italy. Gary Tanaka owns both horses.
The other European shipper in the Long Island is Briviesca, an English filly who has been running in France.
Literacy and Primetimevalentine, noses apart in an Oct. 10 allowance at Belmont, will face each other again in the Long Island. $150,000 Long Island Handicap (gr. IIT), fillies & mares 3 & up, 1 1/2 miles (turf)
PP. HORSE, TRAINER, JOCKEY, WGT.
1. Literacy, John Pregman Jr., Edgar Prado, 114
2. Primetimevalentine, Danny Peitz, Javier Castellano, 114
3. Belles Lettres, Del Carroll II, Jose Espinoza, 111
4. a-Eleusis, Jean-Claude Rouget, Jose Santos, 115
5. Savedbythelight, Richard Violette Jr., Jerry Bailey, 117
6. Briviesca, Carlos Laffon-Parias, Jorge Chavez, 111
7. Arvada, Bobby Frankel, John Velazquez, 117
8. a-Noble Stella, Roger Attfield, Cornelio Velasquez, 112 Main Track Only
9. Bounding Charm, Bill Mott, no rider, 119
(a) Gary Tanaka-owned entry