Nordic Truce, Quiet Harbor Take Gulf Stakes
Making just the second start of his career, Nordic Truce was bet down from a 10-1 morning line to the 2-1 favorite in a field of a 11 3-year-olds going one mile on the turf. The son of Yes It's True settled in near the back of the field under Julien Leparoux while the two frontrunners, Bernie the Maestro and Hellen’s Choice, burned through suicidal splits of :21.80 and :44.49. The leaders were well clear of the rest as they went into the turn.
The rest of the field began to close in on the tiring leaders midway on the turn, especially Bim Bam, Raging Wit, and Call Shot, who all were in contention by the time they reached the top of the lane.
Bim Bam and Call Shot battled each other in upper stretch, with Bim Bam getting the slight edge on his rival under Eibar Coa. But Nordic Truth, 10th at the eighth pole, split rivals and began his charge from the outside. He reeled in most of his rivals inside the sixteenth pole and got up just before the wire to catch a game Bim Bam.
The final time on a firm turf course was 1:33.66. Bim Bam was three parts of a length in front Call Shot for second.
“There was a lot of pace to sit behind," Leparoux said. "I was just patient, and when I could find a hole he just went through with no problem. He’s a real nice horse. He’s still a little green and has a lot to learn, which is good because that means he can get better. He’s still learning. And hopefully he will learn fast.”
Trained by Christophe Clement, Nordic Truce made his debut Nov. 15 at Calder and scored a 4 1/2-length maiden special weight victory on the turf. He had trained up to the Dania Beach at Payson Park. The bay colt was bred in Kentucky by his owners. He is out of the Night Shift mare Nyramba.
Nordic Truce paid $6.40, $3.60, and $3. The exacta (4-7) returned $29.60 and the trifecta (4-7-10) was $116 for $1.
Two races later in the $100,000 Marshua’s River Stakes (VIDEO) for fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the turf, Quiet Harbor pulled an 18-1 upset when she got up by a head in a blanket four-horse finish.
Ridden by Eddie Castro for trainer Shug McGaughey, Quiet Harbor raced off the pace in a field of 13, moved into contention along the final turn, and was one of seven horses with a chance to win in a furious stretch drive. The 5-year-old daughter of Silver Deputy moved to the inside in deep stretch and poked her head in front at the wire to deny Romacaca, who set the pace and nearly went-wire-to-wire, and Lady Shakespeare, who rallied late on the ouside.
Romacaca, who posted splits of :24.16, :48.33, and 1:11.74 under E.T. Baird, deadheated with Lady Shakespeare, ridden by Julien Leparoux, for runner-up. Lomaki was another neck back in fourth. The final time over the firm turf was 1:41.02.
Quiet Harbor posted her fifth consecutive win.
“At the top of the stretch I waited and waited to come through on the inside, and when it opened she had a nice kick," Castro said. "I saw the other horses coming up on the outside but knew at the wire I was the winner. I’ve ridden her five times now, and I’m a five-time winner on her.”
The bay mare made her stakes debut while closing out her 4-year-old campaign in the Violet Stakes (gr. IIIT) Oct. 10 at Meadowlands, posting a 10-1 upset win. She upped her lifetime record to 6-1-2 from 11 starts and has now earned $252,670.
Quiet Harbor is a homebred of Stuart Janney III. She is out of the A.P. Indy mare Meghan’s Joy.
The winner returned $39.40, $13.20, and $8.
"The races at Monmouth Park fit well for her to run through her conditions last year while building up her confidence, and then she won the Violet," McGaughey said. "Eddie has ridden her well in all of her races and she had to come through a little trouble today. It was a very good race off the layoff. The Suwannee River (Feb. 6) is the next race for this group here. But off the lengthy layoff, it might be a little too close. We’ll find something for her here a little later.”
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