11/07/2012 4:04PM

Aqueduct: Overdriven finally makes it back to the races

Barbara D. Livingston
Overdriven makes his return to the races Friday. He has not raced since winning the Sanford Stakes at Saratoga on July 24, 2011.

Overdriven, sidelined by various issues since two highly promising victories as a 2-year-old, returns for Repole Stable and Todd Pletcher at Aqueduct on Friday in the Mr. Nasty overnight stakes at seven furlongs.

Seven 3-year-olds entered the $75,000 race, which is carded as race 3. Overdriven drew on the outside with John Velazquez, who was aboard for both of the colt’s blowout wins in July of last year – a debut at Belmont Park that earned a 100 Beyer Speed Figure, followed by a four-length triumph in the Grade 2 Sanford Stakes.

Overdriven missed the Hopeful and was sent to the New Bolton Center in Pennsylvania, where X-rays did not reveal any fractures, but rather a diagnosis of bone-remodeling.

After recuperating at Jim Crupi’s farm in Ocala, Fla., Overdriven returned to training earlier this year, but developed a stress fracture in his right hind leg – one that did not require surgery – and he returned to Ocala once more.

Overdriven has recorded six workouts since being returned to training in September, including five furlongs in a bullet 59.80 seconds from the gate on Belmont’s main track Oct. 27.

“We’re looking forward to getting him started again,” Pletcher said. “I think we’ve got a good foundation into him, and from a favorable post position seven furlongs is well within his scope. It’s unfortunate we’ve missed so much time, but Mike [Repole] and I have kicked around the idea of not ruling out the Malibu Stakes. We feel like he’s a Grade 1-caliber horse when he’s right, and we’d like to take advantage of that.”

Set to oppose Overdriven, from the rail out, are: Souper Speedy, Our Entourage, Guyana Star Dweej, Sage Valley, Wild Target, and Raging Daoust.

Sage Valley was off for more than four months after being claimed for $50,000 last winter by Michael Dubb. Returned in mid-July, he has improved steadily for Rudy Rodriguez and swept two starts at Belmont’s fall meet, capped by a 100 Beyer for a handy score in a muddy off-the-turf sprint.

Souper Speedy, sidelined after a runner-up finish in last year’s Remsen, returned to run second in a first-level allowance Oct. 14 for trainer Tom Albertrani.

Hit It Rich to make final career start

Headed by last year’s winner, Hit It Rich, nine turf-meant fillies and mares entered Saturday’s $150,000 Long Island Handicap.

The Grade 3 Long Island, scheduled for 1 1/2 miles on turf, is the last graded turf stakes of the year in New York.

From the rail out, the field is: Starformer, Hit It Rich, Tannery, Kissable, Mystical Star, Aigue Marine, The West Rim, Senada, and Clarinet.

Centring entered for dirt only.

The Long Island will be the final race for Hit It Rich, who won the Orchid and Glens Falls earlier this year for trainer Shug McGaughey.

“She’ll run in the Long Island, and that will be it for her,” McGaughey said. “She’s got a date with War Front.”

Mystical Star, second in the Spinster for Christophe Clement, returns to the grass, where she won the Grade 2 New York Stakes in June.