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Long River looks sharp in Evening Attire

By Jenny Kellner | 01/18/2014 05:28 PM ET
Long River
PHOTO/Joe Labozzetta

Long River earned his third consecutive victory and second straight stakes on Saturday, outkicking a game Percussion through the stretch for a three-quarter length triumph in the $100,000 Evening Attire at Aqueduct Racetrack.

With Percussion grabbing the early lead, Long River was content to run fourth along the rail behind Cease and In the Beat through early fractions of 23.88 and 48.17 seconds. As Percussion shook clear of his challengers on the turn, jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. angled Long River to the outside and took aim on the pacesetter at the top of the lane, drawing alongside with a furlong to go and edging ahead in the final yards.

"We were going slow, just behind, waiting and waiting," said Ortiz. "I put on a little pressure and said, 'Maybe if I get clear later, maybe I'll never catch [No. 2 Percussion].' Thank God I got clear early. I got clear, and my horse picked it up pretty good. He was ready. The trainer did an awesome job with him. He's in his best condition right now."

Long River, who closed out his 3-year-old campaign with a victory in the Time for a Change overnight stakes on December 1 at the Big A, completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.71 over an inner track rated "good."

"First time over an off track, you're a little concerned, but he handled it great and we're over the moon," said Art Magnuson, assistant to winning trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. "Percussion ran a great race to be second; it was a long way back to third. I was a little worried [Long River] might get his head in front and then ease up a little bit because he has a tendency to look around. He's getting more professional."

The 8-5 second choice, Long River returned $5.30 for a $2 win bet and earned $60,000 for his breeder, Darley Stable. Overall, the A. P. Indy colt is 4-2-0 from nine starts, including an optional claiming victory in October in his second start back from a seven-month layoff.

"I don't know what's next; there's the Stymie [1 1/8 miles, February 15] here, but that will be up to Mr. Jimmy Bell [of Darley/Godolphin] and Kiaran," said Magnuson.

Finishing 13 ½ lengths behind Percussion was Jonesy Boy, who was followed in turn by Cease, Don Dulce, Cougar Ridge, and In the Beat. Saratoga Snacks was scratched and re-entered in Sunday's Whodam overnight stakes at the Big A.