01/01/2012 3:36PM

Aqueduct: Extra distance no problem for C C’s Pal in Ladies Handicap

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
C C's Pal scores a 2 3/4-length victory in the Ladies Handicap at Aqueduct.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – The connections of C C’s Pal felt their 5-year-old mare was doing so well that, if permitted, they would have run her in both the Ladies Handicap and Interborough Stakes on Sunday at Aqueduct.

New York rules don’t permit that and believing the Ladies was an easier spot than the Interborough, trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. chose the longer of the two races and was rewarded when C C’s Pal cruised to a 2 3/4-length victory over Bahama Bound in the $75,000 Ladies.

The win was the first at 1 1/8 miles for C C’s Pal, a daughter of Alex’s Pal, and came one month after C C’s Pal won the Garland of Roses at six furlongs here Dec. 3. Eric Fein, owner of C C’s Pal, said he left the decision about which race to run solely up to Dutrow, despite some trepidation on his part.

“He picked the right one, although to be honest with you I wasn’t sure she could get a mile and an eighth,” Fein said after the race. “But if you’re ever going to get a mile and an eighth, it’s going to be here on this inner track, so I was comfortable with that but I certainly feel he picked the right one.”

After stumbling a bit at the break under Junior Alvarado, C C’s Pal settled into third position along the inside while Katy Now, the 6-5 favorite, set the pace pressed by Bahama Bound through fractions of 24.95 seconds, 49.74, and 1:13.86.

In upper stretch, Alvarado guided C C’s Pal off the rail, and she took over just outside the eighth pole en route to the victory. C C’s Pal covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:52.85 and returned $4.80 as the second choice. Bahama Bound outlasted Katy Now by a neck for second. One Last Dance and Fools in Love completed the order of finish. Karmageddon was scratched.

Alvarado, who won three of the first four races on Sunday’s card, said the stumble at the start may have actually helped C C’s Pal.

“I was sitting in a perfect spot, she just relaxed all the way,” Alvarado said. “When I turned for home, I put her outside and she responded as always.”

Alvarado said distance does not seem to matter to C C’s Pal.

“When I rode her six furlongs, she was running at the end, when I rode her long right now, she was running at the end,” he said. “It doesn’t matter, six furlongs or 1 1/8 miles, she’s a big-hearted filly.”

As a Florida-bred, C C’s Pal is eligible for the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 28, a 1 1/8-mile race that Fein said he and Dutrow will consider.