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Dream Play cruises to victory in the Comely.
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Dream Play Wires Comely On Sloppy Track

Hennessy miss romps by 5 1/2 lengths for her first graded stakes score.

Favored Dream Play, left alone on the lead, exploded away from the field at the top of the lane under Eddie Castro to collect her first graded stakes win in the $147,000 Comely (gr. II) (VIDEO) at sloppy Aqueduct April 11.

In showery conditions against four 3-year-old filly rivals, Dream Play splashed to a 5 1/2-length win over Don't Forget Gil while kept to the task by Castro. The daughter of HennessyPlaycaller (by Saratoga Six) completed the one-turn mile in 1:39.51 in her first try on an off-track.

Kiaran McLaughlin trains Dream Play for Stewart Armstrong.

“We were looking at the past performances right up to entry time," said Artie Magnuson, assistant to McLaughlin. "When it looked like we might be in front by ourselves, we decided to enter. Good entry job by Kiaran!"

Dream Play sprinted to the front and slowed things down while holding a daylight advantage, clicking off the quarter-mile in :23.77 and the half in :48.16. Laragh chased, but she gave way in the lane as Dream Play extended her lead to 3 1/2 lengths with a furlong to run. She was not challenged by Don't Forget Gil while driving for the wire.

"She’s run good on the lead, but not so good when she’s not in front," Castro said. "I was able to get up pretty easily and when I asked her, she kicked in.”

The runner-up was a half-length better than Holdontoyourdream, a Philadelphia invader who rallied mildly for third with David Cohen aboard. Subprime finished fourth.

It was not a good day for Laragh, winner of last December's Hollywood Starlet (gr. I), who was making her 2009 debut. After moving to the outside to track Dream Play down the backstretch, she was pushed along to keep up by Ramon Dominguez and gave way in upper stretch to finish last, 17 lengths behind the winner.

Dream Play came into the race off a second-place finish to Heart Ashley as the odds-on choice in the six-furlong Cicada Stakes (gr. III) on Aqueduct's inner dirt course March 14. The dark bay broke slowly that day and was rushed by Castro. She won the Big A's Dearly Precious Stakes by more than eight lengths prior to the Cicada.

"We thought she had a slightly trouble trip in the Cicada, but continued on, which was encouraging," Magnuson said.

He said the $200,000 Nassau Country (gr. IIIT) at one mile May 2 is the next target for Dream Play.

A $325,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Florida sale in February 2008, Dream Play was bred by Gaines-Gentry Thoroughbreds and Larry Byer.

Dream Play's third win in five starts was worth $90,000 and nearly doubled her career earnings to $186,406.

The winner carried 118 pounds and paid $6, $3.10 and $2.60. Florida Oaks (gr. III) winner Don't Forget Gil returned $3.20 and $2.50 in her first start since for trainer Mark Hennig. The $2 exacta was worth $12.40. Holdontoyourdream was $2.90 to show in her stakes debut for conditioner Anthony Dutrow.

Platinum Girl was scratched.