Updated on 09/15/2011 2:25PM

Respect Euros in Long Island

Michael Burns
Sweetest Thing has won 4 of 6 lifetime starts, but enters the Long Island off the worst race of her career.

JAMAICA, N.Y. - European-based fillies have enjoyed great success in the Long Island Handicap over the years, winning four of the last 10 runnings and placing in several others.

In Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Long Island, the Irish-bred and French-based Moon Queen looms the one to beat in a full field of fillies and mares attempting to navigate 12 furlongs over Aqueduct's turf course.

Moon Queen, a 3-year-old daughter of Sadler's Wells, has finished first or second in her last seven starts. Joe Allen purchased her privately in July and in three starts for him she has two wins and a second. In her last start, Moon Queen dueled for the lead and prevailed by a nose in the Group 2 Prix de Royallieu at Longchamp.

Moon Queen's front-running style should give her an edge in this field, which despite its size lacks speed. Bail Bond and Affianced, another European shipper, loom the only other pace factors. Moon Queen is the 119-pound highweight and will break from post 7 under John Velazquez.

Moon Queen's pedigree is what caught Allen's attention. Moon Queen is out of the dam Infamy, who beat the boys in the 1988 Rothmans International and produced six winners from eight foals, including the multiple graded-stakes winner Innuendo. "Hopefully, she'll get better with age," Allen said. "Her female family has all gotten better with age."

Allen said Moon Queen, currently trained by Jean-Claude Rouget, will be turned over to Christophe Clement after Saturday's race.

Clement has won two of the last eight runnings of the Long Island, most recently with Coretta in 1998 for owner Gerald Leigh. Clement and Leigh will team up again with Summer Solstice, a lightly raced 4-year-old daughter of Caerleon.

Summer Solstice made her U.S. debut in February at Gulfstream, winning a second-level allowance race at nine furlongs. She developed a small hairline fracture in a hind leg and needed time off. Clement feels he has done enough with the filly to have her ready to go 12 furlongs in her first start in nearly nine months.

"Her greatest asset is she's a true stayer," Clement said. "She's fit."

Sweetest Thing has won four of six starts, but is coming off the worst race in her career, a ninth-place finish in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup at Keeneland.

"I think she was confused at Keeneland," trainer Roger Attfield said. "She had only run on the big course at Woodbine, it was kind of like a bullring for her."

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