OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Angel Cordero obviously picked the wrong day to ride Indian Vale.
Bouncing back from the worst performance of her career in last month's Cotillion Handicap at Philadelphia Park, Indian Vale went gate to wire to win Saturday's Grade 3, $107,800 Turnback the Alarm Handicap by 9 1/2 lengths at balmy Aqueduct. Taittinger Rose, who chased Indian Vale every step, held second by 1 1/4 lengths over Asti. Silent Siren and Wait It Out completed the order of finish.
Personal Legend, who won this race last year, was an early scratch, while Shebelongstoyou was scratched after getting caught under the starting gate.
It was the fourth win from five starts for Indian Vale, a daughter of A.P. Indy and the stakes-winning mare Marley Vale, owned by Eugene Melnyk and trained by Todd Pletcher.
Indian Vale won her first three starts impressively. She was sent off at 2-5 in the Cotillion, a race in which Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero Jr. came out of retirement to ride. Cordero told trainer Todd Pletcher that Indian Vale didn't handle the track in finishing fifth of six.
Saturday, Indian Vale had no trouble getting a hold of Aqueduct's main track as she galloped to the lead in 25.35 seconds and widened her advantage through fractions of 49.35 seconds, 1:13.35, 1:37.34. She covered the nine furlongs in 1:49.83 and returned $3.20 to win.
"He picked the wrong day to ride her," Velazquez said of Cordero, who works as Velazquez's agent. "That track is pretty sandy, while this track has a little more cushion to it. Today, was easy, it was a walk in the park."
Though Indian Vale had shown speed in all her races, Velazquez had considered trying to rate her off Shebelongstoyou early. That plan was scrapped when Shebelongstoyou had to scratch.
"I couldn't do anything but go to the lead," Velazquez said.
Pletcher Said he may run Indian Vale in the $75,000 Ladies Handicap over Aqueduct's inner track Dec. 17. "The mile and a quarter should be right up her alley," he said.