Viva Rafaela faces a full field in the Long Island Handicap.

Viva Rafaela faces a full field in the Long Island Handicap.

Coglianese Photos/Adam Mooshian

Viva Rafaela the Long Island Speedster

Front-running mare will try to carry her speed 1 1/2 miles in Long Island Handicap.

Viva Rafaela, owned by Stud TNT, has been looking for the elusive winner’s circle since last November. Although she has yet to get her picture taken during the past year, it hasn’t been for the lack of trying.

The Brazilian-bred daughter of Know Heights has placed in six stakes during that time, five of them graded, setting all the fractions in most of them.


But each time, someone seems to find just enough firepower in the final furlong to catch her. In her last four starts, she’s been third in the New York Stakes (gr. IIT); second in the listed Waya Stakes; second, beaten a half-length, by Irish Mission in the Glens Falls Stakes (gr. IIIT); and third, beaten 1 1/2 lengths, in the Flower Bowl Invitational (gr. IT) behind Stephanie's Kitten and Abaco.


Now she tries to break her eight-race losing streak in the $200,000 Long Island Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Aqueduct Racetrack Nov. 8.


The Todd Pletcher-trained 5-year-old will break from post 2 under Joe Bravo, who finished third aboard her in the New York Stakes, the only time he’s ridden her.


On paper, it doesn’t look as if there is anyone who can outrun her, so she should have an excellent pace scenario for the 1 1/2-mile test. But there are 11 others in the field including a pair of invaders from Europe, both of whom are coming off victories and both getting Lasix for the first time.


Chad Brown, fresh off three Breeders’ Cup victories, takes over the training of the French-bred and French-trained Danza Cavallo, who has been first or second in her past five starts in the provinces. Owned by Michael Dubb, Sheep Pond Partners, who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. IT) with Lady Eli, and Bethlehem Stable, the daughter of Sunday Break won her last start at Vichy and will break from post 5 under Irad Ortiz Jr.


The other Euro invader, Hellenistic, is a fascinating addition to the field, having won her last two in Ireland for Dermot Weld, including a 6 1/2-length romp in a handicap at Leopardstown under 133 pounds. The 3-year-old daughter of English Channel  drops 20 pounds off her last start, getting in with a feathery 113. Angel Arroyo will be aboard and they break from post 6.


Of the others, Aigue Marine won the grade III R.G. Dick Memorial at Delaware Park two starts back and was fifth, beaten four lengths, in the Glens Falls last time out. The Christophe Clement-trained Tabreed was second in last year’s Long Island Handicap and is coming off a third in a stakes at Kentucky Downs. Giant Shadow has won her past three tries in maiden and allowance company and tries stakes company for trainer Edward Graham.


Coming from Canada is Meri Shika, who won the Flaming Page Stakes at Woodbine in August. She was last of eight when overmatched in the E.P. Taylor Stakes (Can-IT) in her most recent start.


Entries: Long Island H. (G3T)

Aqueduct Racetrack, Saturday, November 08, 2014, Race 7

  • Grade IIIT
  • 1 1/2m
  • Turf
  • $200,000
  • 3 yo's & up Fillies and Mares
  • 3:14 PM (local)
11Aigue Marine (GB)John R. Velazquez118Christophe Clement-
22Viva Rafaela (BRZ)Joe Bravo119Todd A. Pletcher-
33Tabreed (GB)Cornelio H. Velasquez115Christophe Clement-
44Maximova (NY)Manuel Franco115Christophe Clement-
55Danza Cavallo (FR)Irad Ortiz, Jr.114Chad C. Brown-
66Hellenistic (KY)Junior Alvarado113Dermot K. Weld-
77Giant Shadow (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateEriluis Vaz112Edward L. Graham-
88Invading Humor (NY)Jose L. Ortiz115Bernardo Callejas-
99Meri Shika (FR)Emma-Jayne Wilson115Roger L. Attfield-
1010Auld Alliance (IRE)Angel Serpa115H. Graham Motion-
1111Embarr (VA)Dylan Davis115Susan S. Cooney-
1212Angegreen (ITY)Channing Hill116Wayne M. Catalano-
1313Songoficeandfire (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJunior Alvarado111William I. Mott-
1414Bohemian Dance (IRE)Kendrick Carmouche112Michael Dilger-