11/09/2013 5:55PM

Aqueduct: Inimitable Romanee guilty of theft in Long Island Handicap

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Joe Labozzeta/NYRA
Chris DeCarlo walked the dog early with Inimitable Romanee en route to a 28-1 score in the Grade 3 Long Island Handicap.

Going into Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Long Island Handicap, Graham Motion had the only graded stakes winner in the field in Strathnaver. He had two coming out, after Inimitable Romanee stole the 1 1/2-mile turf marathon in broad daylight as the longest price of the seven fillies and mares.

Inimitable Romanee broke alertly from the rail and immediately relaxed on an easy lead for Chris DeCarlo heading into the first of three turns, while Strathnaver and Left a Message raced in closest attendance. After racing last of 10 through the early going of the Ticonderoga last time out, Inimitable Romanee loped along through the opening mlie through quarter-mile split times of 26.30, 27.32, 27.03, and 25.64 seconds. She then sealed the deal by sprinting home the last two quarter-mile segments in 23.90 and 24.09 seconds to hold off a late run from Tabreed.

“I didn’t think there was any real speed in there,” said DeCarlo. “I was pretty sure that if I made the lead, no one was going to push me because she was 25- or 26-1. My plan was all along that if I was able to make a comfortable lead, when I hit the turn I was going to open up, see how much I had left, and get as much separation between me and the rest of the field as possible. That’s how it happened. When I finally dropped her head, she gave me an unbelievable turn of foot. It was like she re-broke out of the gate. I was smiling pretty good.”

So were Inimitable Romanee’s scattered backers, who collected a $2 win mutuel of $58.50, after favorites had swept the day’s first seven races.

Left a Message and Strathnaver hung around to wind up third and fourth, followed by White Rose, Aigue Marine (the 8-5 favorite), and Sheppard’s Pie.

Inimitable Romanee, a homebred daughter of Maria’s Mon, carried 114 pounds, four less than top-weighted stablemate Strathnaver, and notched her first victory since taking a first-level allowance on July 4, 2012. She ran the 1 1/2 miles in 2:34.28 over a turf course labeled good, and improved to 3-6-5 from 20 starts.

“I was concerned with my two horses being head-to-head, but when I saw 1:20 [for six furlongs] I felt pretty comfortable,” said Motion. “She’s a deserving mare, a hard-knocking mare who deserved to win [a stakes]. She had been knocking heads with some hard-knocking fillies. It just goes to show you how tough those New York-breds have been.”