11/10/2010 2:26PM

Denomination takes class drop following long layoff

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Denomination will make her first start in nearly six months in Friday's turf feature at Aqueduct.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Denomination, who garnered back-to-back stakes victories at Longchamp in April 2009, looks for her first win in the United States when she returns from a layoff in Friday’s featured eighth race at Aqueduct.

A field of nine older fillies and mares entered the $52,000 race, a third-level optional $75,000 claimer scheduled for one mile on the turf.

Four of Denomination’s five U.S. starts have come against stakes competition, including a close second in an overnight stakes on the Big A course last November, and a fifth-place finish in the Gallorette Handicap, in which she battled for the lead to deep stretch.

Sidelined since the Gallorette, Denomination will be making her first start in nearly six months for trainer Christophe Clement.

“She was a bit sore coming out of that race so we gave her some time,” said Clement. “She might need a race, but she’s a nice filly and is doing well, looks well.”

The 4-year-old Exclusive Scheme, the lone New York-bred in the lineup, comes off a third-place finish in the Ticonderoga. She won three of four starts prior to that, including stakes scores in the William B. Fasig overnight stakes at Saratoga and the John Hettinger Stakes at Belmont.“She’s gotten very consistent, and she’s certainly gotten better and better as she’s gotten older,” said Badgett.

Quebrada Shiner has been a dyed-in-the-wool closing sprinter to this point, with all five of her career victories coming at 5 1/2 furlongs or shorter. But there are no turf sprints in New York until next spring, so the Argentine import Quebrada Shiner will try to sustain her late kick around two turns. In her second start off a $35,000 claim by Bobby Barbara five weeks ago, Quebrada Shiner finished second by a head in the Glowing Honor overnight stakes at Belmont.

There should be no shortage of pace due to the presence of Becky’s Exchange and P Js Lil Toni, a pair of out-of-towners who have done their best running on the front end. The Mary Hartmann-trained Becky’s Exchange cuts back in distance after setting the pace to deep stretch in the Scoot overnight stakes. P Js Lil Toni, based at Suffolk Downs, led to the final yards of a $20,000 claimer at Saratoga three starts back.

Academicienne, Forest Trail, Granted Tiger, and Darjeeling complete the field.