Indian Vale's chances to win her first graded stakes race were improved dramatically with the scratches of Shebelongstoyou and Personal Legend and the Melnyk Racing Stables' homebred took full advantage to capture the $105,800 Turnback the Alarm Handicap (gr. III) by 9 1/2 lengths Saturday at Aqueduct.
The Todd Pletcher-trained 3-year-old daughter of A.P. Indy
broke off from her four opponents with a quarter of a mile to go and won without being asked under a chilly John Velazquez, who never raised his stick. She completed the 1 1/8-mile event for fillies and mares in 1:49 4/5.
Velazquez said that his third win of the afternoon was his easiest.
"That was a walk in the park," Velazquez said. "The tracks are so much different than at Philly. A lot of horses slip and slide over that track. She broke alertly, settled well, and had plenty left in the stretch."
Velazquez replaced his agent Angel Cordero Jr. at the throttle after Cordero rode Indian Vale to a fifth-place finish as the 2-5 favorite in the 1 1/16-mile Cotillion Handicap (gr. II) at Philadelphia Park Oct. 1.
"A mile and an eighth is more her game, where she can just gallop along," said Pletcher. "That was kind of easy for her."
Personal Legend was an earlier scratch Saturday but the second choice, Shebelongstoyou, was forced from the race after rearing in the starting gate and apparently suffering an injury.
When they finally started, the new second choice, Asti, was left far behind at the gate as Indian Vale, the 3-5 choice, broke away quickly from her outside post position and was positioned on the lead slightly off the rail. She was in command by 1 1/2 to two lengths while carving easy fractions of :25 1/5, :49 1/5 and 1:13 1/5. Taittinger Rose, ridden by Cornelio Velasquez, tracked in second and moved up on the leader's outside to challenge with three furlongs to go. But Indian Vale spurted away coming off the turn and was in firm control while drawing away down the lane.
Remarkably, the Irish-bred Asti rallied for third for Jorge Chavez. Silent Screen and Wait It Out completed the order of finish.
Indian Vale, who was produced by the Forty Niner mare Marley Vale, won the first three races of her career, two victories coming by 13 and 10 3/4 lengths against allowance foes with Velazquez aboard. Her only loss came in the Cotillion.
The chestnut paid $3.20, $2.30, and $2.10.
Taittinger Rose returned $2.70 and $2.10.
Asti, a turf specialist who won the Athenia Handicap when it came off the turf Oct. 15, was $2.10 to show.