11/30/2013 3:55PM

Aqueduct: Wedding Toast digs deep to take Comely

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Michael Amoruso
Wedding Toast (inside) holds off Toasting to win the Comely.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – In an early toast to the holiday season, heavily favored Wedding Toast edged rank outsider Toasting by a head in Saturday’s Grade 3, $400,000 Comely Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, giving Javier Castellano his fourth win on the card.

Wedding Toast ($3.40) stepped right out to the lead after breaking alertly from post 2, and set an honest pace of 23.82, 48.04 and 1:11.98 seconds while pressed by second choice My Happy Face.

Wedding Toast turned back her early pursuers entering the stretch, but she was then set upon by Toasting, who had been far back racing next-to-last down the backstretch. Toasting began picking off horses quickly while circling widest leaving the far turn, and reached nearly even terms for the lead with a furlong remaining. The pair began drifting about, with Wedding Toast prevailing determinedly over Toasting, who was the longest shot on the board at 32-1.

“I put her on the lead and she fought all the way,” said Castellano. “At the top of the stretch, it looked like [Toasting] was going to go by, but she kept fighting. She didn’t want to get beat today.”

It was another 5 1/4 lengths back to third finisher Teen Pauline, who also drifted out in the late stages. My Happy checked in fourth. The order of finish was completed by Galloping Giraffe, Flash Forward, Sky Girl, Sheer Drama, and Marathon Lady.

Wedding Toast, a homebred daughter of Street Sense, earned $240,000 for Godolphin Racing LLC in notching her fourth straight victory since a runner-up finish in her debut for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. She ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.92 seconds on a fast main track. The Comely has essentially switched spots on the calendar with the Gazelle, which was won on this day last year by her stablemate, Dance Card, who was also exiting a win in the Belle Cherie overnight stakes at Belmont.

“She sometimes doesn’t break so well, but today she broke well and [Castellano] put her on the lead,” said McLaughlin. “She was very game. It looked like the other filly was going to go right by her, but she dug in and showed a lot of gameness. We won a tough photo. She’s a very nice filly. We’ll discuss plans for her.”