05/24/2012 4:26PM

Belmont: Motion calls Aruna's last a throwout

Tom Keyser
Aruna finished fifth, beaten just one length in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Officially, Aruna has made one start this year, a last-place finish in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley at Keeneland last month.

As far as trainer Graham Motion is concerned, the race doesn't exist.

"I feel like I have to put a line through it," said Motion, who said his 5-year-old mare was compromised by a pedestrian pace. "They ran 1-2-3-4-5-6 all the way around there."

Motion will hope for a different result when Aruna returns in Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 Sheepshead Bay at Belmont Park. Not only is Motion hoping for a better pace scenario, he believes the 1 3/8 miles will better suit his mare. In her last start of 2011, Aruna finished fifth, beaten just one length in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, run at 1 3/8 miles.

Aruna is one of 10 entered in the Sheepshead Bay, which will likely be run over an inner turf course with some give in the ground. The course was labeled good for Thursday's racing program and more showers were possible. Motion said he would not run Aruna "in a bog."

Before the Jenny Wiley, Aruna had won 5 of 7 starts in this country including two graded stakes. She also won the $100,000 Pebbles Stakes over this course in 2010.

Aruna will break from post 5 under Ramon Dominguez.

Motion also sends out Hasay, who is already proven at the 1 3/8 miles distance and is coming off a second-level allowance win at Keeneland at 1 1/2 miles.

"There aren't too many opportunities for a filly that wants to go that far," said Motion, who has Julien Leparoux to ride.

Trainer Shug McGaughey said distance has been the key to success for Hit It Rich, who enters the Sheepshead Bay having won three of her last four starts, including two Grade 3 stakes at 1 1/2 miles. In winning the Orchid, she ran down a stubborn Aqsaam, who opened up a 12-length lead in the early stages.

"We had a little trouble getting by her when we got to her," McGaughey said.
Aqsaam ran off from jockey Rajiv Maragh in the Orchid. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is making a switch to Rosie Napravnik in hopes she can get the Dynaformer filly to relax.
"We're hopeful she cooperates better for Rosie, but there doesn't look like there's any pace," McLaughlin said.

Though Distorted Legacy is 0 for 9 on turf, she finished second in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl here last year and fourth in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

Distorted Legacy finished third in the Wait a While Stakes on April 8 at Gulfstream, a 1 1/16-mile race that was probably too short for the mare.

"When you need a race you need a race," trainer Angel Penna Jr. said. "She ran big, she closed a lot of ground."

Mystical Star, Magical Cat, Principal Role, Woodford Belle, and Senada complete the contentious lineup.