OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Coming off a successful Breeders' Cup with wins in the Filly & Mare Turf and Filly & Mare Sprint, New York-based trainer Chad Brown will enter a trio of formidable contenders in Saturday's Grade 3 $200,000 Long Island Handicap at 1 ½ miles for fillies & mares 3-years-old and up at Aqueduct Racetrack, the first turf stakes of the Big A's 2015 fall meet.
Leading his contingent is Danza Cavallo for owners Michael Dubb, Sheep Pond Partners, Bethlehem Stables, and The Elkstone Group. Listed as the 3-1 morning-line favorite, the 4-year-old filly is set to make her sixth start of the year coming off a second-place finish and her highest recorded Beyer Speed Figure of 97 in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational on October 3 at Belmont Park behind stablemate and Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf winner Stephanie's Kitten.
With jockey Jose Ortiz scheduled to ride, Danza Cavallo will depart from post position 3.
Drawing the rail is the 4-year-old gray filly Goldy Espony. Perfect in two tries at the 1 ½-mile distance, The Brown trainee will be looking to rebound off a ninth-place finish in the Grade 3 Glens Falls September 5 at Saratoga Race Course.
Listed at 5-1 on the morning line, jockey Kendrick Carmouche is scheduled to ride.
Lastly, Brown will saddle Rosalind for owners Bethlehem Stables, Michael Dubb and Highclere America. A 4-year-old daughter of Broken Vow, she has yet to run at the 1 ½ mile distance and enters the Long Island after finishing third in the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes on October 18 at Woodbine.
"They're all doing good," commented Brown on his runners. "We're hoping for a little rain this weekend for softer ground for Danza Cavallo. It doesn't look like we'll get it, but nevertheless she's going to run. She was second in this race last year, so hopefully she can win it this year. I thought Rosalind ran very well in the E.P. Taylor. There was no pace in the race so we sent her to the lead and she nearly pulled it off. She hasn't gone a mile and a half yet but I don't think the distance will be a problem. Goldy Espony came out of her last race with some foot issues we had to deal with, but now she's back on track and she's been breezing, well so it looks like the perfect spot to get her back started."
Trainer Christophe Clement will look to capture his third career victory in the Long Island and in back to back years as he saddles three runners in Walk Close, Crisolles, and Coutesan.
Crisolles, a 4-year-old French-bred filly who began her career in Europe will make her first graded stakes start in North America after most recently winning an optional-claiming race at Belmont on October 15. Prior to that she finished third, a half-length behind second-place runner and co-entrant Rosalind, in an optinal-claiming race on August 31 at Saratoga.
Set to leave from post 9 with Joel Rosario in the irons, Crisolles is listed at 5-1 on the morning-line.
Walk Close, a 4-year-old daughter of Tapit for Highland Yard LLC, will make her first start since July 11 when she captured the Grade 3 Modesty Handicap at Arlington Park in her third start of the year while picking up a 94 Beyer Speed Figure. Drawing post 10, Walk Close will be ridden by Manuel Franco.
Courtesan a 4-year-old daughter of Street Sense enters off a narrow defeat in the Ladies Marathon Stakes at Kentucky Downs on September 19 where she lost by three-quarters of a length.
Rounding out the field are the Irish-bred Mutatis Mutandis for England-based trainer Ed Walker, who ran third in the Flower Bowl at Belmont; Interrupted, for trainer Graham Motion and Pin Oak Stable who last out won the Lady Baltimore Stakes at Laurel Park on September 12; Evidently for trainer Roy Lerman; and Gotachancetodance and Mei Ling for trainer Todd Pletcher.