11/07/2013 2:33PM

Aqueduct: Anjaz, Strathnaver finally get to meet in Long Island

Tom Keyser
Anjaz will be making her first start since finishing second in the Waya at Saratoga in early August.

Anjaz and Strathnaver, who had their Labor Day weekend plans scuttled, look for a little more cooperation from Mother Nature in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Long Island Handicap – the last scheduled graded turf stakes of the New York season for fillies and mares.

Anjaz and Strathnaver were set to clash in the closing-day Glens Falls at Saratoga, but were scratched after the race was rained off the grass. The European imports have respectively made four and five starts in the United States, and are nominally top-weighted at 118 pounds in the 1 1/2-mile Long Island, which is race 8 at Aqueduct and the third leg of a late pick four with a $250,000 guarantee.

Anjaz has been idle three months since a runner-up finish in the Waya Stakes, a race in which she lacked room through upper stretch. She also had trouble in the Sheepshead Bay, when she lunged at the start and rallied from last to finish second; and in the Orchid, when off slowly and fourth.

Strathnaver is the only graded stakes winner in the field. She has won three times for trainer Graham Motion, beginning with a first-level allowance at Gulfstream in her first U.S. start, followed by a big late run to capture the Grade 3 Bewitch.

After being scratched from the Glens Falls, Strathnaver finished strongly to win the Lady Baltimore Stakes at Laurel Park later in September.

“I wasn’t 100 percent sure I was going to run her . . . the horse had been off since July,” said Motion. “I took her to Saratoga but the race came off the turf, and she didn’t run. [The Lady Baltimore] was Plan B.”

Six others carry 114 to 116 pounds, including Aigue Marine and Tabreed, who started off in France before winding up in the U.S. with Christophe Clement.

Over a course that had been blanketed by wet snow a day earlier, Aigue Marine rallied to finish third in last year’s Long Island, which was her first U.S. start. She ran twice at Gulfstream earlier this year, winning an allowance before racing wide in the Orchid.

Tabreed was a fast-closing second to Strathnaver in her U.S. and seasonal bow. She has since won allowance races at Monmouth Park and Keeneland at 1 1/8 miles.

“We’ll try to stretch her [out] and see what happens,” said assistant trainer Christophe Lorieul. “The filly, mentally, is very relaxed. Last time at Keeneland, she was in the back and made one run. She’s no problem to rate, so we think a mile and a half won’t be a problem.”

Motion also entered the New York-bred Inimitable Romanee. Left a Message, Sheppard’s Pie, and White Rose complete the field.

◗ The late pick four begins with the Summer Secretary, a $100,000 overnight stakes for 3-year-old fillies, scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on turf.

The Chad Brown-trained duo of Watsdachances and Wave Theory figure to vie for favoritism coming off identical 88 Beyer Figures at Belmont.

Other contenders include Teen Pauline and Frege, third and fourth in the Pebbles on Columbus Day; and Frosty Bay, a rallying fourth in the Ticonderoga.