Trainer Christophe Clement had the first two winners of Saturday's $75,000 Marshua's River for older fillies and mares on the Gulfstream Park grass, but not in the way most expected.
Jon and Sarah Kelly’s 6-year-old mare Bright Abundance upset the 5-year-old mare Naissance Royale as the 3-to-5 favorite by a half-length.
“Someone suggested that the ‘wrong’ filly won,’ but I said ‘that’s not right," Clement said. "The winner is a very good filly on her own and is a graded stakes-winner.’ (Bright Abundance) got the best trip today and was good enough.”
Jockey Kent Desormeaux rode Bright Abundance as a 6-to-1 chance in the 1 1/16-mile turf test and got the better trip tally over stablemate Naissance Royale, who got carried very wide into the stretch under Edgar Prado. Calla Lilly finished third, one length behind the winner, in the field of 10 fillies and mares.
Bright Abundance ran the distance in 1:39.77 and paid $14.60, $3.80, and $2.60. Naissance Royale returned $2.40 and $2.10, and Calla Lily paid $3.60 to show.
“That was a very rough race," Desormeaux said. "Everyone wanted to get in position into the first turn. It seemed like I was clipping heels for three-quarters of a mile. I was very fortunate to get a seam.”
Prado agreed. "It was a really rough trip. We were four-wide most of the way, then really wide on the turn. We would have won with a better trip."
Bright Abundance won for the sixth time in 26 starts, ending a seven-race losing streak since capturing the Noble Damsel Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the Belmont Park turf in September 2005.
The bay Quiet American mare has earned $344,166.