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Eldaafer gets Nose Up in Brooklyn

ELMONT, N.Y. – Diane Alvarado, who took out her training license just a few months ago, decided to take blinkers off Eldaafer for Friday afternoon’s 121st running the $200,000 Brooklyn Handicap and was rewarded with a nose victory in the slop over Nite Light.

The 30-year-old Alvarado, who worked as an exercise rider for trainers Todd Pletcher, Dallas Stewart and David Jacobson before taking out her trainer’s license in February at Gulfstream Park, got a big effort in the Grade 2, 1 ½-mile Brooklyn from Eldaafer, a son of 1992 Horse of the Year and Belmont Stakes winner A.P. Indy, who was claimed for $20,000 earlier this year. He has now won five of 10 career starts. He returned $36.20 to win.

“We took the blinkers off,” said Alvarado, who is based at Delaware Park. “He likes to stalk. He has to have things his way. (Jockey) Jorge Chavez rode a good race – we all rode him to the wire. His owner (Richard DeMarco of Alghuwayriyah Stable) was very confident and even said he was going to kiss any horse who finished in front of him – I was confident, but I wasn’t going to kiss any horse.”

Before 3,563 fans, Eldaafer came inside early, as Nite Light, who got the first quarter mile in 24.74, surrendered it briefly to 2008 Brooklyn winner Delosvientos, and then came back to get the half in 49.02 and three-quarters in 1:13.81. Coming off the turn, Chavez moved his horse outside and rallied him to the victory in 2:31.58

“I had a beautiful trip,” Chavez said. “My horse is still learning and he got a little scared on the rail on the first turn. But after that he was okay. I tried to put him in gear just a little, but he didn’t respond. So, in the stretch, I took him to the outside and he responded when I asked him and I guess I made it right in time to the wire!”.

Rising Moon, wearing two bar shoes again, was third, followed by Ea and Alcomo (BRZ). Fierce Wind and Delosvientos were eased, and Barrier Reef, Lord Kipling and Don Misil were scratched.

DESPITE THE ODDS TAKES HILL PRINCE

Rain reduced took the $109,000 Hill Prince off the turf and onto the sloppy/sealed main track, where Despite the Odds splashed home a 7 ½-length winner under jockey Jeremy Rose.

Making his fourth career start, first start in New York and his first beyond six furlongs, the Michael Trombetta-trained Speightstown colt dueled inside with Affirmatif through a quarter mile of 23.47 and a half of 46.25. He got six furlongs in 1:10.13 and drew off to win the one-mile test for three-year-olds in 1:35.68. He returned $17.20 to win.

“I always thought he was a distance horse,” Rose said “He wasn’t himself in his last race and I thought he showed his credentials today. Coming off the turn I had a ton of horse, if they were going to run him down it would have to be a horse with a lot of kick. Even though he never ran in the slop before, I was happy with the way he was getting over it, even in the post parade. I couldn’t believe we went that fast. It was all about where he was comfortable today – it never seemed like he wanted to be on the lead any more than I did, and I had plenty of horse to finish up with.

Affirmatif held for second, well ahead of Dubinsky. Conservative, Rendezvous and Duke of Homberg (GB) trailed.

Elmfield Boy, Florentino, Heroes Image and Lime Rickey were scratched when the race came off the turf.

 

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