Prince Faisal Salman's Olaya charged home along the inside to catch Spotlight in the final yards to win the $150,000 Long Island Handicap (gr. IIT) in her United States debut on the Aqueduct turf Saturday.
Fifth at the head of the lane, Olaya turned it on for Edgar Prado, splitting horses near the eighth pole and eventually overtaking Spotlight, who looked like a sure winner under Ramon Dominguez after taking command from the pacesetting Little Buttercup in the stretch.
Olaya, the second choice, won by a long neck with Spotlight holding second by one length over Kate Winslet. The final time for the 1 1/2-mile event for fillies and mares was 2:30 1/5 on firm going.
Latice, the 121-pound high weight and even-money pick in the field of seven who was in tight while pinned along the inside as Olaya raced on her outside, lost ground as they came off the final turn and never threatened.
"She relaxed most of the way," said Prado. "I had her covered up until it was time to go. When I found some room, she really kicked in. I was very happy with the race. I thought Jose (Santos on Latice) had the horse to beat, and I was next to him most of the way. When the front-runners got away, I asked my horse and she got back in gear."
A 3-year-old daughter of Theatrical
, Olaya had a listed stakes win at Toulouse in an eight-race career in France. She was coming off a fifth-place finish a group III at Deauville in August.
H. Graham Motion assumed training duties from Jean-Claude Rouget.
Olaya, who carried 114 pounds and raced with Lasix for the first time, closed powerfully after running easily while staying close to conservative fractions set by Little Buttercup – :24 4/5, :50 4/5, 1:16 2/5 and 1:41 4/5.
Belgrave Bloodstock bred the winner, who is out of the Miswaki mare Solaia, in Kentucky. Her third win in nine starts increased her earnings to $161,052.
She paid $9.40, $5.60, and $4.70.
Spotlight, who stalked the pacesetter in second and opened up a sizeable lead in the stretch before being caught late, returned $5.60 and $4.30.
Kate Winslet, coming off a win in the Yaddo Handicap at Saratoga Aug. 17, rallied menacingly but settled for third, paying $8.80 to show.
It was a head back to Serendipitous. Latice, A Lulu Ofa Menifee, and Little Buttercup trailed.
"On the last turn, she dropped back about three or four lengths," Jose Santos said of Latice. "She just couldn't make it up in the stretch."