Seahorse Stable’s Yet Again had already developed a liking for Aqueduct’s inner dirt track prior to Sunday’s 34th running of the $67,420 Affectionately Stakes. But then she got a perfect set-up in a short field and was able to parlay that into a 2 ¾-length victory over Are We Dreamin in the mile and a sixteenth race for fillies and mares.

The scratch of Successful Sarah whittled the field down to five and made Spritely the overwhelming choice of the day’s 2,513 fans.

Spritely and jockey Ramon Dominguez, however, never had it easy. From the start, they had to battle Rap Tale through a pace of 23.25, 47.15 and 1:11.99 on the fast track. Even when Spritely managed to open a lead, Rap Tale kept coming.

Finally, Rap Tale threw in the towel, and Spritely opened a two-length lead as she hit the quarter pole.

Spritely, however, had been softened and Are We Dreamin had made an inside move on the turn to pass Rap Tale and target the leader. Jockey Orlando Bocachica, aboard Yet Again, followed Are We Dreamin and then tipped her outside for a clear path home.

Both passed the tiring Spritely, but Yet Again surged to come away with the victory in 1:45.28.

“I thought going in it would be a fast pace, but with four-horse field, you don’t know,” Bocachica said. “She’s a strong filly; you don’t want to fight her. She relaxed nicely today and finished up well.”

The longest shot on the board, Yet Again returned $19.40 for the sixth win of her 22-race career. She has won two of four starts on the inner track with one third.

“She’s very consistent,” said trainer Karl Grusmark. “The race set up perfectly for us. There was a good honest pace and (Jockey Orlando) Bocachica gave her a great ride. I’m very grateful to the owner (Dr. Cary Shapoff) for the opportunity to train such a nice filly.”

“And the owner is very grateful for such a good, consistent training job,” said Shapoff, son of the late trainer “Skippy” Shapoff.

Spritely held third, a length ahead of Rap Tale.

AFFECTIONATELY STAKES QUOTES

Winning trainer Karl Grusmark of Yet Again (No. 2) : “She’s very consistent. The race set up perfectly for us. There was a good honest pace and (Jockey Orlando) Bocachica gave her a great ride. I’m very grateful to the owner (Dr. Cary Shapoff) for the opportunity to train such a nice filly.”

Owner Dr. Cary Shapoff, owner of Seahorse Stable: “And the owner is very grateful for such a good, consistent training job.”

Winning jockey Orlando Bocachica: “I thought going in it would be a fast pace, but with four-horse field, you don’t know. She’s a strong filly; you don’t want to fight her. She relaxed nicely today and finished up well.”