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Changing Skies Headlines Long Island

After missing by a head when second in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational, Changing Skies will attempt to go one better when she faces six fillies and mares in Saturday’s 52nd running of the Grade 3, $150,000 Long Island Handicap over 1 ½ miles on the turf at Aqueduct Racetrack.


Winner of the Grade 3 The Very One at Gulfstream Park in the winter, Changing Skies added another stakes victory when she captured the restricted Waya at Saratoga Race Course on August 9 and just missed in the October 2 Flower Bowl at Belmont after making a three-wide move.


“She ran very big in the Flower Bowl and we are expecting that kind of run again,” said Rodolphe Brisset, assistant to Hall of Famer Bill Mott, who trains the homebred for Swettenham Stud. “If she runs the same race, she is going to be tough. After the Flower Bowl the boss was thinking of the Breeders’ Cup, but the timing for this is perfect.”


Changing Skies – whose form was flattered when Waya runner-up Casablanca Smile dominated in the Dowager at Keeneland on October 24 and when Keertana, fourth in the Flower Bowl, finished a close third in Saturday’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf – was made the even-money morning-line favorite for the Long Island. John Velazquez will ride the 122-pound highweight from post position 3.


Trainer Graham Motion will be represented by a pair of distaffers, 5-year-old Daveron and 3-year-old Clarinet, in the Long Island.


Owned by Team Valor International, Daveron began her North American racing career by making three starts for trainer Christophe Clement, including a fourth in the New York in June, before she was transferred to Motion’s barn. The German import raced has raced twice for Motion, finishing second by a neck in a Laurel optional claimer on September 24 and drawing off to a three-length decision in the Scoot Stakes at Belmont on October 20.


“The Long Island is a big step up and she’ll be going a mile and a half, but she has been doing well,” said Motion. “The plan has been to get her in these longer races and hope she’d be competitive in these stakes. She’s a horse who is on the muscle and responds to being covered up.”


Daveron will leave from post position 7 under Eddie Castro and 116 pounds as the 7-2 second choice.


Lightly-raced Clarinet, owned by Earle Mack, has won three of her last four starts, most recently a narrow score in a 1 ½-mile allowance race at Keeneland on October 16. Her sole defeat during that span was a sixth in the one-mile St. Georges Stakes at Delaware Park two starts back, but Motion believes the distance was shorter than her ideal trip.


“You’re limited where you can run in these longer races, and we felt the Long Island was a good opportunity to get her some black type now that we know this is her game,” said Motion. “She seems to be a very honest filly, but she seems to be a little one-paced and the longer distance seems to help.”


Ramon Dominguez will ride Clarinet, assigned 115 pounds and installed at 12-1, from post 5.


Tarrip, third in the Omnibus at Monmouth on August 21 and an optional claimer at Belmont on September 23, exits the same race as Clarinet, having finished sixth after being caught three wide.


“She had no racing luck in her last race,” lamented Christophe Clement, who trains Tarrip for Castleton Lyons. “Before that she had been very consistent for us. She stays, so the trip is not a problem.”


Tarrip, 15-1 on the morning line, drew the rail and will tote Cornelio Velasquez and 114 pounds.


Mekong Melody, the 4-1 third selection, seeks her third stakes win of 2010, having captured the Grade 2 Dance Smartly in July and the Flaming Page in September, both at Woodbine. The David Egan homebred was 10th in her two other starts this year, the Grade 2 Ballston Spa Handicap at Saratoga on August 28 and the Grade 1 E. P. Taylor at Woodbine on October 16.


Alex Solis has the call aboard Mekong Melody, assigned 117 pounds, from post 2.


Me Love and Sweet and Flawless complete the field.


The field for the Grade 3, $150,000 Long Island Handicap:








Tarrip (KY)

C H Velasquez


C Clement



Mekong Melody (IRE)

A O Solis


R L Attfield



Changing Skies (IRE)

J R Velazquez


W I Mott



Me Love (KY)

E S Prado


D Capuano



Clarinet (KY)

R A Dominguez


H G Motion



Sweet and Flawless (KY)

D Cohen


E R Reed



Daveron (GER)

E Castro


H G Motion





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