Taking to Santa Anita's firm turf course, Naissance Royale emerged from the pack for Garrett Gomez to seize control approaching the eighth pole, drawing away to a 3 1/4-length win over favored Black Mamba in the one-mile race for fillies and mares.
So the New York-based Clement, now 9 for 19 with eight stakes wins in the past year in California, adds the Las Palmas to his list. Naissance Royale was the first starter for Clement in Southern California since this summer at Del Mar, when In Summation and Rutherienne each won grade I races.
Gomez won his 69th stakes race of 2007, and he is one shy of the national record of 70 set by Jerry Bailey in 2003.
"She’s a real good mare and I’m really glad Mr. Clement sent her back out here," Gomez said. "Hopefully, he’ll leave her here for the winter.”
Carrying top weight of 118 pounds, the Irish-bred 5-year-old Naissance Royale kicked away from her rivals under left-handing urging while drifting in late. She dominated the 8-5 choice, Black Mamba, ridden by Tyler Baze, who barely held second. Baze claimed foul against the winner but stewards denied the claim.
Clement also trained the third-place finisher, Meribel, who was crowded in the stretch but finished well for Corey Nakatani to just miss the runner-up slot by a nose. The winning time was 1:34.14.
Assistant trainer Jane Turner said Clement is in Florida.
“He was leaving Belmont to go to Florida this morning,” she said. “I believe these horses are staying (in Southern California). He’s sending some horses to Hollywood and these two will go there on Tuesday.”
Naissance Royale raced near the rear of the pack as Live Life took the 10-horse field along at splits of :23 1/5, :47 and 1:10 4/5.
The winning chestnut daughter of Giant's Causeway --Net Worth, by Forty Niner, tried synthetic track for the first time in her last start with disastrous results. She finished eighth in Keeneland's Spinster (gr. I) Oct. 7. Naissance Royale won for the first time since taking the Suwannee River (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park in February. The Monceaux Stable runner went on a six-month hiatus shortly after that.
Overall, Naissance Royale has a 6-6-2 record in 20 lifetime starts with earnings of $740,213.
Sent off as the second choice, she paid $6.20, $3.40 and $2.80 while topping a $15.80 exacta. Black Mamba returned $3 and $2.60. Meribel was $3.80 to show.
Live Life was one length behind in fourth, followed by Sweet Belle, Trick's Pic, Private Banking, Dream's, I Can See and Strong Faith. Charm the Giant, Double Trouble and Shermeen scratched.
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