Emerald Beech and Mekong Melody Featured in Long Island Handicap

Rob Gregorka
Updated: November 11, 2011 -- 1:55 PM ET

Las Vegas, NV -- The last graded turf race of the year in New York takes place on Saturday afternoon with Emerald Beech and Mekong Melody expected to fight it out in the Long Island Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack. A field of eight is set for Saturday's 55th running of the $150,000 contest.

The defending champion of the race is Mekong Melody but she will not be the favorite on Saturday. That honor goes to Emerald Beech who is listed at 8-5 on the morning line in horse betting odds while Mekong Melody is the second choice at 5-2. Last year it was Alex Solis aboard Mekong Melody, but in this year's race Solis will be on Emerald Beech.

The Long Island Handicap is the 8th race on the card on Saturday at Aqueduct and part of a $250,000 guaranteed pick four.

Emerald Beech had done very little before this year with just one win in 10 starts, but this year things have dramatically turned around as the horse had four straight wins including the Grade 3 Glen Falls at Saratoga back in September before losing last time out in the Flower Bowl. "The Flower Bowl wasn't her best showing," admitted trainer Jonathan Sheppard. "She was stuck down on the inside and couldn't really get running until the stretch. She certainly wasn't disgraced - it was a Grade 1. And, I think the 1 1/2 miles is the most suitable distance for her."

Mekong Melody is just the opposite of Emerald Beech. She won six of her first eight starts in the U.S., but this season she has no wins. It is worth noting, however, that all six starts this year for Mekong Melody have been in Grade 1 and Grade 2 races for trainer Roger Attfield.

There is not much else besides these two horses to consider in this race, with the only other graded stakes winner being Unbridled Essence but that horse has not won in seven starts and isn't given much of a chance in the off-track betting odds at 15-1.

The Long Island Handicap is the 8th race on the card on Saturday at Aqueduct and part of a $250,000 guaranteed pick four. Post time is expected to be 2:48 pm Eastern.

Here is the full field for Saturday's Long Island Handicap:

Post

Horse

Jockey

ML Odds

1

Unbridled Essence

J. Lezcano

15-1

2

Little Often Anni

M. Luzzi

20-1

3

Musical Rain

R. Dominguez

6-1

4

Hasay

P. Morales

8-1

5

Hit It Rich

J. Castellano

4-1

6

Emerald Beech

A. Solis

8-5

7

Mekong Melody

R. Maragh

5-2

8

Akris Queen

J. Davis

30-1

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