Some of the most exciting female runners of 2001 will stay in training, barring injury, through 2002. However, a number of grade or group I-winning mares will visit the breeding shed for the first time this year.
Batique employed a front-running style to earn her first stakes win, leading from wire-to-wire to win Saturday's Vinery Matchmaker Handicap (gr. IIIT) by 2 1/2 lengths at Monmouth Park. The 5-year-old mare completed the 1 1/8 miles in course-record time of 1:46.19.
Gary A. Tanaka's Moonlady, making her first North American start, tracked the early leaders before gaining a commanding lead on the second turn to win the $150,000 Long Island Handicap (gr. III) by three lengths over Playact Saturday at Aqueduct as horses who last raced in Europe filled the top two finishing positions.
The $150,000 Long Island Handicap (gr. IIT), the final turf stakes of the year in New York for fillies and mares, drew an overflow field of 14 with two also eligibles entered for Saturday's Aqueduct feature.
The $1.5 million Canadian International (Can-I) will have a distinctly European feel as at least five European shippers are expected to arrive at Woodbine within a week for the Oct. 15 event.
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