By Karen M. Johnson
Angliana held off a late surge from 10-year-old Evening Attire to win the $81,600 Aqueduct Handicap by one length Jan. 19.
Angliana, ridden by Alan Garcia, took the lead at the sixteenth pole of the 1 1/16-mile Aqueduct on the inner track. Evening Attire, a closer who was up against it after speed dominated all afternoon, came with his patented late move to secure second by a nose over Judiths Wild Rush, who finished third.
Judiths Wild Rush, the 5-2 favorite, and Pink Viper battled for the early lead in the Aqueduct. Those two ran in tandem through fractions of :23.19 and :46.84. Pink Viper began to tire after three-quarters run in 1:11.78, and Judiths Wild Rush had the lead turning for home.
Evening Attire, under Ramon Dominguez, was on the move entering the stretch but had too much to do to catch Angliana, who had stalked the early leaders in third and took the lead from Judiths Wild Rush with a sixteenth remaining.
Angliana, a 6-year-old son of Giant's Causeway, returned $11.20. The exacta returned $52.50; the trifecta $176. The winner completed the distance in 1:43.25 over a fast track.
The order of finish was completed by Sinners N Saint, Malibu Moonshine, Shuffling Maddnes, and Pink Viper. Shuffling Maddnes, who was ridden by Stewart Elliott, stumbled after the wire and fell. Elliott was unhurt and Shuffling Maddnes appeared fine after getting up on his own power.
Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Angliana is owned by his breeder, Alvin D. Haynes.
Angliana, who finished second in last year's Aqueduct, only raced twice last year because he became afflicted with a serious throat disorder. The problem involved an artery in this throat and required surgery.
In his first start since March 2007, Angliana finished second in his allowance prep for the Aqueduct at Philadelphia Park on New Year's Day.
"Alan (Garcia) gave him a great ride," said McLaughlin's assistant, Art Magnuson. "This horse can fall behind very easily, but Alan kept him close. He's one of our old favorites at the barn."
"My horse broke so good," Garcia said. "I let him settle down. I waited to be clear. After that, he finished so well."
Evening Attire's trainer, Pat Kelly, couldn't find fault with his gelding's valiant effort in the Aqueduct.
"It's all we can ask for," Kelly said. "This will set him up good for the Stymie (March 1), which he won last year."