Roddy Valente's Svea Dahl scored an easy four-length gate-to-wire victory over Mystic Lady in the $100,000 Turnback the Alarm Handicap (gr. III) over 1 1/8 mile on a fast track at Aqueduct Sunday.
With Richard Migliore riding, the 5-year-old Honor Grades mare established a moderate pace of :24 2/5, :49, 1:13 and 1:37 4/5. She was drawing away in a winning time of 1:50.42 for trainer Bruce Levine.
"I couldn't wait to run this horse around two turns," said Levine. "She's by Honor Grades out of a Prized mare. She got away with an easy half-mile in :49. I thought With Ability (who finished fourth) would have pressed her a little more. I was just hoping she'd be third to get her graded stakes placed."
Mystic Lady, with John Velazquez at 9-5, outran 8-5 favorite Critical Eye, with Mike Luzzi, for second money. The 5-year-old Critical Eye needed at least a second-place finish to go over $1 million in career earnings. She is scheduled to retire at the end of the year.
The field was reduced to five by the sratches of Unrestrained, Forest Princess and Shiny Band.
Svea Dahl, who was claimed at Hollywood Park on June 26 for $62,500, won for the ninth time in 23 career races. It was her third victory in five outings for her new connections. She has career earnings of more than $342,000.
"We've had good luck with our California claims, but we've gottenstuck a couple of times, too," Levine said. "This is going to end up a home run. She's only been long twice before this and I think she can continue to improve."
"I knew turning for home that it was going to take a tremendous effort from someone to run her down," Migliore said. "I took a peek behind and asked her to run. She took off. It was a big effort from her."
Sent off at 6-1, Svea Dahl paid $14.80, $5 and $3.90. Mystic Lady returned $3.20 and $2.60. Critical Eye paid $3.10.