Dalvina Rallies to Win Long Island
Photo: Coglianese Photos
Dalvina's win in the Long Island Handicap (gr. IIIT) was her American racing debut.
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English invader Dalvina went from last-to-first, rallying under Cornelio Velasquez to conquer the $150,000 Long Island Handicap (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) Nov. 11 at Aqueduct in her first start on American soil.

The lone 3-year-old in a field of eight, Dalvina won by 3 1/2 lengths in the Long Island, an 1 ½-mile event on the turf that was rescheduled from Nov. 3 because of poor weather. Six-year-old French-bred mare Barancella also came from the back to get second, while tiring stretch leader My Rachel hung on for third at odds of 18-1, a head in front of Green Girl.

The final time was 2:34.35.

Owned by Andrew and Marina Stone, Dalvina had made her six previous starts in Europe. Although winless in her last four attempts, all of them came in group I or II competition, including her most recent start, a third place finish in the Irish National Stud Blandford Stakes (Ire-II) in which she was only two lengths back.

In the Long Island, Dalvina broke slowly and was easily outrun by longtime leaders Miracle Moment and My Rachel, who set the modest pace. The opening fractions were :25.27, :51.57, 1:16.51 and 1:42.03. At the mile marker Miracle Moment was tiring badly, while My Rachel stormed to the lead under Edgar Prado. Dalvina was still last.

But by the top of the stretch a host of rivals were making a bid from the back, including Dalvina, who was charging four-wide and running best of all. She easily made the lead at the eighth pole and opened up with urging from Velasquez. Barancella’s best running was too late.

“At the quarter-pole, when I put her in the clear, she took off,” Velasquez said. “She is a very, very nice filly. Today, the grass was very soft, very chewed up. But, she liked it.”

Going off at odds of more than 5-1, Dalvina earned her first graded stakes victory and paid $13 to win. The exacta (3-1A) returned $57, while the trifecta (3-1A-4) was worth $389.

Dalvina was bred in England by Normandie Stud and is trained by Edward Dunlop. She is a daughter of Grand Lodge, out of the Halling mare Foodbroker Fancy.

“The plan was to sit a bit closer than we did,” assistant trainer Robin Trevor-Jones said. “I thought there was a chance that, with the way the American horses break, if she was close up she would be too keen. Cornelio did exactly the right thing.

“The plan was for her to go to Graham Motion after this race. After she won like that, I am sure Mr. Dunlop will be keen to have her back. She’s too nice a filly to lose. She’s a Group 2 or Group 3 filly in England. She should improve from 3 to 4.”

Betting favorite Royal Highness tired badly in the stretch and finished sixth, just in back of second choice Rising Cross.

(Chart, Equibase)

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