01/05/2012 2:56PM

Aqueduct: Sweet Seventeen stretching out


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Sweet Seventeen gets a chance to prove she’s more than just a sprint and synthetic-surface specialist when she stretches out around two turns in Saturday’s $100,000 Busanda Stakes at Aqueduct.

The Busanda, restricted to 3-year-old fillies, is run at a mile and 70 yards around two turns and is the co-feature on a nine-race program that includes the $150,000 Count Fleet Stakes for 3-year-old males.

Sweet Seventeen, trained by Graham Motion for owner Debby Oxley, is the only two-time winner in the seven-horse field. She won her debut going 5 1/2 furlongs on dirt at Laurel in September. Sweet Seventeen then shipped to Keeneland and won a first-level allowance race going seven furlongs over Polytrack in October. She concluded her 2-year-old campaign with a second-place finish to three-time stakes winner Tu Endie Wei in the Glorious Song Stakes over Woodbine’s synthetic surface.

Motion, who has a string in south Florida, elected to keep Sweet Seventeen in the Northeast for the winter and ease her into stakes company as opposed to trying her against better competition at Gulfstream.

“I’ve been apprehensive about stretching her out before now because she’s always been sharp in her races,” Motion said from his base at the Fair Hill training center in Maryland. “But I think now is the time to do it. I like the post, I like the race, she certainly handles dirt okay.”

Ramon Dominguez will ride Sweet Seventeen, the 8-5 morning-line favorite, from the rail.

Bourbonstreetgirl and Captivating Lass both come out of the Grade 2 Demoiselle over Aqueduct’s main track. In her dirt debut, Bourbonstreetgirl finished third in the Demoiselle, but was forced out wide around the three-eighths pole when eventual winner Disposablepleasure came off the rail. David Cohen, the rider of Bourbonstreetgirl, claimed foul against the winner, but it was disallowed.

“Her momentum was stopped for a certain amount of time,” said Gary Contessa, trainer of Bourbonstreetgirl. “Cohen, more so than me, was absolutely adamant she would have won that race.”

Captivating Lass was also caught behind that incident at the three-eighths pole, but didn’t appear to be doing much running at the time. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is putting Captivating Lass on Lasix and is adding blinkers to her equipment for Saturday.

“We were bothered probably more than anybody else, but we weren’t going forward,” said McLaughlin, noting that jockey Alan Garcia “did have to check her pretty hard.” McLaughlin said he was hoping that the addition of blinkers and the presence of fewer horses in the race would help Captivating Lass.

Captivating Lass has trained well in blinkers, including a half-mile breeze in company with Count Fleet starter Alpha on Monday.

The Winged Venus, Lady Clara, Almost a Valentine and Terralba complete the field.

Busanda S., Post Time: 3:09 ET Saturday

Purse: $100,000; 1 mile 70 yards





ML Odds


Sweet Seventeen

H. Motion

R. Dominguez



The Winged Venus

W. Badgett, Jr.

C. Montalvo




G. Contessa

D. Cohen



Lady Clara

M. Trombetta

C. Velasquez



Captivating Lass

K. McLaughlin

M. Luzzi



Almost A Valentine

O. Figgin, III

E. Petlroche




M. Shuman

J. Alvarado