11/08/2012 1:41PM

Aqueduct: Hit It Rich making final career start in Long Island Handicap


If Mother Nature cooperates – and that’s a big “if” these days – nine fillies and mares will clash in Saturday’s $150,000 Long Island Handicap, scheduled for 1 1/2 miles on turf.

The 56th running of the Grade 3 Long Island is the last graded turf stakes of the year in New York. It is the eighth of nine races and part of a late pick four with a $250,000 guaranteed pool.

Hit It Rich, who posted her first stakes victory in last year’s Long Island for trainer Shug McGaughey, carries top weight of 119 pounds in what is scheduled to be the final start of her career. The 5-year-old mare has little margin for error against logical contenders Mystical Star (118), Kissable (117), and Starformer (117).

Up until the Flower Bowl, when she tired badly after setting the pace on yielding turf, Hit It Rich had been a gem of consistency this year. She finished in the money in five straight graded stakes, including wins on firm turf in the Orchid and Glens Falls under regular rider Javier Castellano.

“She’s going to be up in the [Long Island], maybe on the lead, going that far,” assistant trainer Buzz Tenney said. “She’ll have control of the race, I think. We’ll see if she can get the trip. I think she can; she did it last year. She worked a half on Monday [in 50.03 seconds], which is her kind of work, and galloped out good.”

Christophe Clement, who has won the Long Island twice, sends out Mystical Star, the Grade 2 New York winner who ran second in the Spinster last time out.

Clement also will oversee Aigue Marine, a European import trained by his brother, Nicolas.

“Mystical Star is doing very well, and she came back from the Spinster very well,” Clement said. “Aigue Marine is trained by my older brother Nicolas and she will stay with me after the race. She’s an improving 3-year-old filly. The dam, Aiglonne, came to the States and I trained her. She was a useful mile-and-one-half-type horse.”

The Irish import Kissable, a rallying third in the Glens Falls after winning the Waya Stakes at Saratoga, ships down from Woodbine for Roger Attfield, who won the 2010 Long Island with Mekong Melody.

Kissable will be second-time Lasix after a late run to finish fourth in the E.P. Taylor.

“She seems to be getting better,” Attfield said. “She’s going to race next year, but the turf in Florida is probably a bit too firm for her liking, so this is a good spot for her.”

Starformer, who wired the Robert G. Dick Memorial for Bill Mott, breaks from the rail in the three-turn Long Island.

Clarinet, Senada, Tannery, and The West Rim complete the field on turf.

Centring entered for dirt only.