Carmandia Roars to First Flight Triumph

Four Roses Thoroughbreds and trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. picked up their second graded stakes win on the Aqueduct card Saturday when Carmandia rallied impressively for a 3 1/4-length upset triumph in the $150,000 First Flight Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares.

Guided for the first time by Chris DeCarlo, who was also aboard Silver Wagon for Dutrow and company in the Sport Page Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) earlier on the card, Carmandia overtook Win McCool inside the furlong marker and drew off for her first graded stakes win. The 4-year-old Wild Rush filly completed the seven-furlong distance in 1:22 4/5 on a fast track.

"They were running hard in front of her," Dutrow noted, adding that he had no plans for Carmandia's next start. "She really put in a big run."

Carmandia made it back-to-back wins in New York after also taking an optional allowance/claiming race at Belmont Park in her last start Sept. 22, her first two victories of 2006. Overall, she has won five of 16 with earnings of $259,573.

Sixth in the field of seven for the first half-mile, Carmandia picked it up while entering the turn four wide as Great Intentions set the early pace of :22 4/5 and :45 2/5. Win McCool, ridden by Joe Bravo, took the lead in the stretch after pressuring the pace and held it until Carmandia took over. Win McCool held on for second by a nose over Swap Fliparoo, who finished up nicely on the outside for Jean-Luc Samyn.

"She got a nice pace to close in to," DeCarlo said. "She really kicked it in at the eighth pole and after that, just wore everybody down."

Notimetoquit, Grecian Lover, Splendid Blended and Great Intentions rounded out the order of finish.

Splendid Blended, the 19-10 choice ridden by Eibar Coa, was steadied after being bumped at the start and tired in the stretch after chasing the pace.

Sent off as the fifth choice, Carmandia paid $21.80, $9.60 and $5.90. Win McCool returned $8.20 and $5.10. Swap Fliparoo was $3.30 to show.

Buckram Oak Farm bred the winner, who is out of the Mining mare Her Secret, in Kentucky.

(Chart, Equibase)