Trainer Christophe Clement sends out a strong trio of contenders in defending winner Mutamakina (GB), graded-stakes winner La Dragontea (GB) and graded-stakes placed Sorrel (IRE) in the 64th running of Grade 3, $400,000 Long Island Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack on Nov. 27.
Clement, a three-time winner of the 12-furlong inner test for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up, notched the exacta last year when Mutamakina slid up the rail and collared pacesetting stablemate Traipsing in the last strides to the wire.
En route to Saturday’s engagement, Mutamakina captured a pair of graded stakes triumphs at Woodbine Racetrack in Canada going 10 furlongs.
Following a prominent score in the Grade 2 Dance Smartly on Sept. 24 over firm ground, Mutamakina squared off against La Dragontea in the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor on Oct. 17 fending off a late confrontation from her stablemate to win by a neck.
Mutamakina has been training forwardly since her last victory according to Clement, logging a four-furlong move in :50.10 Saturday over the Belmont turf.
“She’s been training very well. I’m very happy with her,” Clement said. “She’s a top-class mare. She’s never trained so well than when she came back from Canada. Her last couple of works have been remarkable and I’m excited to run her back.”
Dylan Davis is 3-for-3 aboard the 5-year-old daughter of Nathaniel (IRE) who will break from post 7.
Since finishing second to Mutamakina in the E.P. Taylor, La Dragontea was sold to Rosemont Stud at the Keeneland November Sale for $1,375,000 but has remained in Clement’s barn. She is slated to shuttle to Australia next year.
“I’m delighted that she’s back in the barn. She’ll go to Australia for next year we’ll try to do the best we can with her,” Clement said.
La Dragontea made up considerable ground in the E.P. Taylor, where she was last at the top of the stretch before weaving her way through traffic and coming up just shy of victory. Prior to her last start, the 4-year-old daughter of Lope de Vega (IRE) shipped to Woodbine and displayed stalking tactics when capturing her first stakes win in the Grade 2 Canadian on Sept. 18 over good going.
A two-time winner on the NYRA circuit this season, La Dragontea made her North American debut a winning one in a 1 ¼-mile Belmont allowance on May 7, leading through every point of call under little urging in the stretch drive. She was a troubled sixth in her next effort cutting back to 1 1/16 miles five weeks later at Belmont.
“She was very impressive in her debut in America winning her allowance at Belmont,” Clement said. “We were very unlucky the time after that getting boxed in. She’s a very good filly and she never stops improving.”
Hall of Famer Javier Castellano will ride from post 4.
Rounding out Clement’s contingent is Sorrel, who makes her first start since a troubled third to subsequent Grade 1 winner War Like Goddess in the Grade 3 Orchid on March 27 at Gulfstream Park.
Owned by George Strawbridge, Jr.’s Augustin Stable and James Wigan, the 4-year-old daughter of Dansili (GB) secured three straight victories for English conditioner Sir Michael Stoute overseas prior to transferring to Clement.
“She ran very well that day, she could have won with a better trip,” Clement said of her Orchid effort. “We gave her plenty of time and she’s come back well.”
Breaking from post 8, Sorrel will be ridden by Manny Franco.
Trainer Chad Brown will send out Orglandes (FR), who recaptured her winning form last out when taking the Zagora on November 7 at Belmont. The 5-year-old daughter of Le Havre (IRE) ended 2020 on a winning note when making up a dozen lengths to win the Grade 3 Red Carpet last November at Del Mar.