SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY – Don Alberto Stable’s homebred Andina Del Sur shot to the lead in mid-stretch, then held sway against a late-charging foe to champion Friday’s $150,000 Forever Together Stakes at Aqueduct.
Breaking from post 9 under Javier Castellano at 3/1 odds, Andina Del Sur was put under a tight hold and settled into mid-pack as she passed the judges for the first time. Up ahead, Too Charming posted opening fractions of :23.93, :48.84, and 1:13.13 while Lounge Act gave closest watch.
Heading into the far turn, Lounge Act ranged up to challenge the leader and was soon joined by the 3/2 favorite Sweet Bye and Bye. Andina Del Sur tipped out to run four-wide at the top of the stretch and soon took over near the 3/16 pole.
Though she held a multiple-length lead at the 1/8 pole, Andina Del Sur’s advantage shrank as she neared the finish line, thanks to a streaking Theodora B. down the middle of the lane. Digging in gamely in the shadow of the wire, Andina Del Sur held off Theodora B. by a neck at the wire for victory. The Tom Albertrani trainee completed the 1 1/16-mile event over the good turf course in a final time of 1:43.03.
“She settled nice,” Castellano said. “There was a little more pace today. She’s the kind of horse that likes to come from behind. Everything set up beautifully. I liked the way she did it. She gave me a good run.”
Sweet Bye and Bye couldn’t muster the needed rally from her stalking position and finished third, 1 1/2 lengths behind the top pair. Go Noni Go took fourth by a 1/2-length over My Sistersledge, while behind them came a spent Too Charming, Lounge Act, and Shanghai Rain.
Another Broad, Matty’s Magnum, and Team Win were scratched as main track only entrants.
Andina Del Sur’s win, her second of the year following September’s Violet Stakes at Monmouth Park, improved her overall record to 19-4-2-5. The 4-year-old daughter of Giant’s Causeway increased her career earnings to $470,750.
“I don’t know if she just got a little lost out there by herself, but she was able to hold off the late charge and she ran well today,” Albertrani said. “I’ve never seen her open up that much. This is the first time I have seen her actually open up some daylight. We’ll probably ship her down south now, regroup with her, and run her at Gulfstream (Park) and see if she stays another year in training or not.”
Andina Del Sur returned $8.30 to win, $4.20 to place, and $2.20 to show. Theodora B. brought back $4.40 to place and $2.70 to show, while Sweet Bye and Bye paid $2.30 to show.