03/17/2011 3:51PM

Aqueduct maiden lifts McLaughlin team's spirits

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. − Opening Move, a 3-year-old son of Bernardini, gave trainer Kiaran McLaughlin’s New York crew a much-needed lift when he won a maiden race over Aqueduct’s inner track Wednesday.

Three days earlier, the stakes-winning Fort Hughes − also trained by McLaughlin − suffered a fatal breakdown during a workout over Belmont Park’s training track preparing for a start in the Grade 3 Bay Shore at Aqueduct.

“It’s definitely tough for the whole team,” Art Magnuson, the New York-based assistant to McLaughlin, said earlier in the week. “You never get used to it.”

Magnuson said the barn’s spirits were lifted somewhat Wednesday after Opening Move − who like Fort Hughes is owned by Darley Stable − romped to a 5 1/2-length victory, running six furlongs in 1:11.27 and earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 90. It was the colt’s fourth start, and his first since last November.

“He’s run behind some good ones,” said Magnuson, noting the horse finished behind Justin Philip and Leave of Absence in two of his previous maiden races. “We’re hoping it was a confidence builder for him; it was for us.”

Magnuson and Darley hope for some more success Saturday, when they run In Step in Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Cicada Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. In Step, a daughter of Unbridled’s Song who cost $1 million at auction, won her debut at Gulfstream by a half-length over Savvy Supreme. Saturday, she will have to break from the rail in the seven-horse field.

“She looks fantastic,” Magnuson said. “With horses that have only run once or twice, you’re concerned about the rail, but she ran handy enough first time out.”

Giant Moon’s brother debuts

Piscesbymoonlight, a half-brother to the deceased New York-bred champion Giant Moon, makes his debut Saturday in a six-furlong race that goes as the seventh. It is apropos that his debut comes March 19.

Piscesbymoonlight was born March 19, according to trainer Richard Schosberg, as was his owner/breeder Al Fried, who celebrates his 81st birthday Saturday.

“So you think I got a lot riding on this race?” Schosberg said Thursday at his barn. “[Fried] called me; he was all excited. I’ve been fretting for a week.”

Giant Moon won his debut in September 2007 and finished his career 8 for 19, including six stakes, with earnings of $502,586. He died earlier this year on Fried’s farm because of laminitis.

Piscesbymoonlight has trained well leading up to his debut, and Schosberg said he is expecting a solid effort.

“If he breaks well, I think he’ll run well,” Schosberg said. “He’s shown some pretty good stuff to us in the morning.”

Studart gets 30-day suspension

The stewards suspended jockey Maylan Studart for 30 days for a careless riding incident that occurred early in Wednesday’s third race. Studart said Thursday she planned to appeal the penalty, which would enable her to ride until a hearing is held.

Studart was aboard Valuable Lady, who came over several paths after breaking from the outside post and forced three jockeys to steady their mounts in the early stages of the race. Catreign, ridden by Jackie Davis, and Lady of the Forest, ridden by Simon Husbands, finished second and third after being bothered by Studart’s mount.

Studart didn’t deny being at fault, but said she thought the penalty was harsh.

“Although I know I was wrong, 30 days is absolutely absurd,” Studart said. “I deserve seven days. They’re always harsh on me. Even the trainers say, ‘Man, they got something against you.’ It’s like they’re always picking on me. I see infractions everyday in my races. It’s not fair. They should be consistent.”

Studart has ridden four winners from 95 mounts during the inner-track meet.