Never Retreat, upset winner of the Jenny Wiley Stakes (gr. IIT) at Keeneland in April, faces a triple threat from the Roger Attfield barn in the $300,000 Nassau Stakes (Can-IIT) on the Woodbine turf course June 4.
A good field of nine older fillies and mares is set for the one-mile test. The Nassau is the eighth race on the Woodbine card at 4:36 p.m. EDT.
Never Retreat found yielding ground at Keeneland to her liking in the 1 1/16-mile Jenny Wiley 1 1/2 months ago, closing rapidly at 7-1 odds to register a 1 3/4-length win for Team Block and trainer Chris Block. The 6-year-old Smart Strike mare returned in the Churchill Downs Distaff Turf Mile (gr. IIT) to finish sixth after a wide trip as the 7-2 favorite May 7.
A lifetime winner of eight races in 26 tries, Never Retreat also captured the Honey Fox Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park March 5. She drew the far outside post and will be ridden by Eduardo Perez.
Three that Never Retreat defeated in the Jenny Wiley return in the Nassau, including Attfield trainee Miss Keller, who has not been out since finishing sixth in the Jenny Wiley.
Three Chimney Racing's 5-year-old daughter of Montjeu won last year's Canadian Stakes (Can-IIT) at Woodbine and finished second in the Nassau as well as Woodbine's premier grass race for older females, the E.P. Taylor Stakes (Can-IT). Eurico Da Silva, who rode the bay mare in last year's Nassau, regains the mount for the first time since.
David Egan's Mekong Melody makes her first start for Attfield since running away with Aqueduct's Long Island Handicap (gr. IIIT) by nearly four lengths last November. The 6-year-old Cape Cross mare captured Woodbine's Dance Smartly Stakes (Can-IIT) by a nose last summer but tired to finish off the board in the E.P. Taylor later in the year. Patrick Husbands has the call.
Also representing Attfield in the Nassau is Harlequin Ranches' Oregon Lady, who takes a three-race win streak into her initial stakes effort. The Shamardal filly won a second-level allowance race at 1 1/16 miles by a head on a Churchill Downs turf course rated good in her most recent start. Jono Jones, who rode Oregon Lady to her maiden win at Woodbine last August, accepts the mount.
All three of Attfield's entrants in the Nassau were bred in Ireland.
Bay to Bay, second to Tapitsfly in a high-priced optional claimer at Gulfstream Park April 2, returns after a short layoff for trainer Brian Lynch. A grade III winner on Polytrack at Woodbine in 2009, Robert Smithen's 4-year-old daughter of Sligo Bay captured the American One Thousand Guineas handily at Arlington Park last spring and began the current season with a fifth in the Honey Fox.
Also coming out of the Jenny Wiley are fourth-place finisher Forest Uproar, whose three-race winning streak came to an end in a stakes at Fair Grounds in February, and 10th-place Valli With a Vow.
$300,000 Nassau Stakes (Can-IIT, Race 8, 4:36 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 Mile (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Forest Uproar (ON), E Wilson, 116, M R Frostad
2. Woolly Bear (NY), R A Dos Ramos, 116, D England
3. Mekong Melody (IRE), P Husbands, 122, R L Attfield
4. Miss Keller (IRE), E R Da Silva, 122, R L Attfield
5. Bay to Bay (FL), L Contreras, 118, B A Lynch
6. Valli With a Vow (KY), T Pizarro, 116, J Carroll
7. Oregon Lady (IRE), J C Jones, 116, R L Attfield
8. Stormy Illusion (KY), R A Dos Ramos, 116, D England
9. Never Retreat (KY), E E Perez, 122, C M Block