A fresh start was in order for the Irish-bred invader Naissance Royale, who began her career in France, and the 3-year-old filly responded brilliantly with a late surge to win in the $150,000 Lake Placid Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Saratoga lawn Friday.
In her first American start for trainer Christophe Clement, the Monceaux Stable's filly was staked to a stalking trip by jockey Edgar Prado. The Giant's Causeway
filly then demonstrated her courage, overtaking My Typhoon in the lane and outfighting the favorite to the finish for a head victory in the nine-furlong event for 3-year-old fillies.
With the portable rail out 12 feet, My Typhoon had pressed Ready's Gal early through splits of :22 4/5 and :46 3/5. As they hit the turn, jockey Jerry Bailey sent My Typhoon to the lead as Ready's Gal began to tire.
Prado, who had saved ground in the early going, unleashed Naissance Royale. She looked like she would blow right by My Typhoon, but the leader answered the challenge and the two battled to the wire with Naissance Royale coming on top in 1:47 for her second win in seven starts. She returned $11.20, $4.80, and $4.60.
"We got lucky," said Clement, who took over her training from Christiane Head-Maarek. "They went :46 3/5 for the half; in the meantime, my filly was lying closer to the pace than expected. She was very bad in the gate in France, and I was worried that she would break slow from the gate. I told Edgar (Prado, jockey) to tuck her in and keep her covered and make one run. She showed more speed than expected. (My Typhoon and Ready's Gal) were softened up enough for us to get there.
"She came to me in mid-July," Clement explained. "She ran a bad race in France. She was not 100 percent in behind. They wanted to try something else. She's been running against the best in France."
Clement said the logical next spot would be the Garden City Breeders' Cup (gr. IT) for 3-year-olds at Belmont Park at nine furlongs on the turf Sept. 10.
Prado, the leading rider at the Belmont meet and current leading rider at Saratoga, was pleasantly surprised by the filly's response.
"I thought I was going to go by easier at the top of the stretch," Prado said. "Because, when I took my horse to the outside, she gave me nice acceleration, but Bailey's horse (My Typhoon) never quit. She came back and was very game. I was very happy with the filly."
My Typhoon returned $3.30 and $2.90. Victory Lap, at $3.80, was third, followed by Wait It Out, Ready's Gal, and Capitulation.