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Breeders Cup 2015
Kentucky Derby 2017

Hit It Rich Strikes Paydirt in Long Island

Hit It Rich earned her first graded stakes victory Saturday afternoon at Aqueduct Racetrack, taking command with a decisive move at the head of the stretch and going on to a 1 ½-length victory in the 55th running of the Grade 3, $150,000 Long Island Handicap.

Patiently handled by Javier Castellano, the 4-year-old gray daughter of Smart Strike was content to gallop alongside pacesetter Unbridled Essence as she led the field of eight fillies and mares through fractions of 24.38, 49.39, 1:15.32 and 1:41.12 over a turf course rated "firm." Grabbing the lead on the turn, Hit It Rich quickly opened up on her seven rivals and rolled under the wire in 2:30.39 for the 1 ½ miles.

Mekong Melody, winner of the 2010 Long Island, finished second, 1 ¾ lengths clear of the late-running Musical Rain.

"It looked like there wasn't much speed at all, but [Unbridled Essence] rushed and wanted to dictate the pace," said Castellano, aboard the Stuart Janney, III-owned filly for the first time. "I let her dictate the pace, and I just kept tracking behind the speed. The pace was very slow and my filly loved to gallop right next to the lead. It was wonderful - when I asked her, she focused and took off."

The victory was the third in four starts for Hit It Rich, who entered the Long Island off a 3 ¾-length allowance victory at Keeneland Race Course in October and won an optional claimer at Saratoga Race Course in July. Overall, she is 5-1-2 from 11 starts and with the winner's purse of $90,000 has now earned $243,310 for her owner and breeder.

"I think this is a pretty big move forward to go from a three-other-than into something like this," said Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey. "We've asked her to do quite a bit these past couple of months. We'll give her a little break and hopefully next summer she'll be the kind of filly that can maybe participate in some of the bigger races."

Sent off at 4-1, Hit It Rich returned $10.80 for a $2 win bet.

Completing the order of finish behind Musical Rain were Hasay, favored Emerald Beech, Akris Queen, Unbridled Essence, and Little Often Anni.

 

 

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