01/01/2013 3:02PM

Aqueduct: Arena Elvira rebounds in Ladies Handicap


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – New year, same result.

Arena Elvira began 2012 in March with a head victory over R Gypsy Gold in the Wayward Lass Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. On Tuesday, Arena Elvira kicked off her 2013 campaign with a neck victory over R Gypsy Gold in the $75,000 Ladies Handicap at Aqueduct.

It was 8 1/4 lengths back to Silver Prize in third. Villanesca was last. The Stronach Stables entry of Dial Direct and Smart Cash scratched.

Arena Elvira, a 6-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper, broke a three-race losing streak and won for the ninth time in 17 starts for owner Carolyn Wilson and trainer Bill Mott. She has now earned $497,396.

Under Junior Alvarado, Arena Elvira was three to four wide down the backside while R Gypsy Gold sat an inside trip under Ramon Dominguez.

Approaching the quarter pole, Alvarado made a three-wide move at the pacesetting Silver Prize and chaser Villanesca, and struck the front outside the eighth pole. Meanwhile, Dominguez had to wait for running room along the inside for R Gypsy Gold and though she did get through, her stretch run fell just short.

Arena Elvira covered the 1 1/8 miles over a fast inner track in 1:51.53 and returned $3.40 as the 3-5 favorite.

“She broke a half-step slow and the last race I rode her she wasn’t taking me,” Alvarado said. “Today, she took me right away, she pretty much took me the whole way. I just tried to get [her to] relax. I had to make a little move at the five-sixteenths, and I saw the favorite was a little stuck inside and I tried to get the jump and I think that helped me win the race at the end.”

Dominguez said that having to wait for room cost his mare the race.

“I was waiting and hoping that the rail would open up and it finally did, but I felt like in the process of waiting the other filly got the jump on me and it made the difference,” Dominguez said.