11/11/2010 1:45PM

Consistency makes Changing Skies tough foe in Long Island

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Barbara D. Livingston
Changing Skies, winning the Waya at Saratoga in August, is a deserving favorite in the Long Island Handicap.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Changing Skies, an Irish-bred import who has won or placed in all seven of her U.S. starts, will be a clear favorite in Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Long Island Handicap.

Changing Skies concedes five to nine pounds to six rivals in the 54th running of the Long Island, which is the last graded turf stakes for fillies and mares in New York this year.

Changing Skies has won on firm, good, and yielding turf for trainer Bill Mott, including the Grade 3 Very One at 1 3/8 miles, and the Waya at the Long Island’s 1 1/2-mile distance.

In the Grade 1 Flower Bowl last time out, Changing Skies had the lead between calls in deep stretch and was nipped in the final strides by Ave. Among those finishing behind her was Shared Account, who returned to win the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at odds of 46-1.

“She ran very big in the Flower Bowl, and we are expecting that kind of run again,” said assistant trainer Rodolphe Brisset. “After the Flower Bowl, the boss was thinking of the Breeders’ Cup, but the timing for this is perfect.”

Roger Attfield, who saddled Ave to a 10-1 upset win in the Flower Bowl, sends in Mekong Melody, another Irish-bred import who has done well since coming to North America, with 5 wins from 7 starts, including two runnings of the 12-furlong Flaming Page Stakes at her Woodbine base.

Attfield has won four turf stakes for fillies and mares in New York this year, but Mekong Melody’s only appearance on this circuit was a last-place finish in the Ballston Spa after breaking slowly and racing wide on a speed-favoring inner course at Saratoga.

“She had a bad day at the gate and everything went wrong,” Attfield said. “We knew that wasn’t her race.”

Mekong Melody is back for another try, after prompting the pace in the Grade 1 E. P. Taylor in her last start.

The German-bred import Daveron is 2 for 2 under Eddie Castro since coming to the U.S., including a score in the Scoot overnight stakes at Belmont in her second start for trainer Graham Motion.

“She’s a horse who is on the muscle and responded to being covered up,” said Motion, who also brings in the lightly-raced Clarinet from Fair Hill in Maryland.

Tarrip, Me Love, and Sweet and Flawless complete the field.