02/20/2012 5:22PM

Aqueduct: Law Enforcement closes from far back to win Hollie Hughes

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
The 7-year-old Law Enforcement, ridden by Alan Garcia, wins for the first time since Aug. 5, 2009 in Monday's Hollie Hughes.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Law Enforcement’s comeback from a life-threatening bout with colic two years ago was completed Monday at Aqueduct when the 7-year-old New York-bred rallied from last to win the $75,000 Hollie Hughes Stakes.

 Under Alan Garcia, Law Enforcement rallied from 15 lengths back after the opening quarter to run past Head Heart Hoof in the final 50 yards and win the race by 1 1/4 lengths. Head Heart Hoof finished second by a head over Be Bullish, last year’s Hughes winner. He was followed in the order of finish by Dr Disco, Ground Force, Freudian Dilemma, and Bug Juice.

The win ended an 11-race losing streak for Law Enforcement, dating back to Aug. 5, 2009 when he won the John Morrissey Stakes at Saratoga.

Given what Law Enforcement went through one year later, that he’s still alive is nearly as impressive as the late run he displayed on Monday.

Law Enforcement was entered to run in the Vic Ziegel Memorial on Aug. 27, 2010 at Saratoga. The night before the race, the horse suffered a case of colic and needed to undergo emergency surgery.

Dr. Bill Barnes did the procedure, which became complicated when he couldn’t find the twist or blockage associated with colic. Mark Hennig, the trainer of Law Enforcement, remembers leaving Barnes’s clinic late on Aug. 26 and arriving about five hours later to a gruesome sight.

 “There was a pile of intestines laying on a big metal table and he was laying on a table next to it,” Hennig recalled. “Dr. Barnes looked at me and said ‘I got about 10 minutes and I’m going to have to put him down.’ He said ‘I can’t fix it.’ I said ‘Don’t waste your time talking to me, get back to work.’ ”

Shortly after Hennig left, Barnes did indeed find the problem and was able to fix it.

Law Enforcement, owned and bred by Camelia Casby, didn’t return to the races until last July. In five starts since then, he had three seconds and a third.

As a late-running sort, Law Enforcement needs a hot pace to be successful and he got that on Monday.

Despite a strong wind blowing in the horses’ faces down the backside Freudian Dilemma and Bug Juice dueled through fractions of 22.33 seconds and 45.72 for the half-mile.

 Law Enforcement was 15 lengths back after the opening quarter but saving ground. Garcia guided Law Enforcement off the rail in upper stretch and guided him to the outside and he uncorked a powerful stretch run that carried him past Heard Heart Hoof with 50 yards to run.

 “It was a good pace for me the first part of the race,” Garcia said. “My horse was calm and relaxed. I tried to save some ground and turning for home let him run. My horse started picking it up better than the other horses.”

Law Enforcement, a 7-year-old son of Posse, covered the six furlongs in 1:10.95 and returned $8.30 to win.

Hennig has trained many horses over his 20-year career, but said Law Enforcement will go down as one of his most memorable.

 “Every time he runs it’s meaningful,” he said.  “Unfortunately or fortunately, we have a lot of horses that go through careers and they don’t always stick in your mind. He’ll be with me forever. His will to live is unbelievable.”