Pacesetter Silverette, Somali Lemonade, and Viva Rafaela rounded the home turn as a team before Joe Bravo speared a game Naples Bay through the front-running trio in mid-stretch to secure a one-length victory from Somali Lemonade, with Angelica Zapata finishing a close third.
Naples Bay, a 6-year-old Giant's Causeway half sister to multiple grade I winner and sire Medaglia d'Oro, saved ground in sixth in the 10-horse field and was fourth entering the stretch. Somali Lemonade tracked Silverette from third in the opening stages and gained a short-lived, narrow lead from that rival in the lane. But Naples Bay willingly responded when given her cue and dispatched Somali Lemonade inside the final furlong.
Naples Bay was timed in 1:41.73 for the 1 1/16 miles on firm turf and improved her career line to 5-3-1 from 18 lifetime starts with earnings of $338,770. Starting at 8-1 odds, she returned $18.20, $7.80, and $5.80.
Winless in five starts last year, Naples Bay has won three races from as many starts on the turf at Gulfstream. The Marshua's River is her first victory in seven starts since taking the 2012 Noble Damsel Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Belmont Park. She won her first two career starts on the Gulfstream turf in 2011 and added a second graded stakes win to her record with the Marshua River win.
"She's a very nice filly, but unfortunately she's much better on firm turf and the past year we kept meeting softer grass," trainer Christophe Clement said about the winner, who is campaigned by Edward A. Cox Jr.
"She goes off to stud now and Mr. Cox is sending her to (undefeated European champion) Frankel, so we wish her the best of luck in her new career."
Viva Rafaela, who pressed Silverette into the stretch, tired to finish eighth in her first attempt to win stakes in the United States. Abaco, the 5-2 favorite, was sixth in early stretch and closed to finish fourth.
Naples Bay was bred in Kentucky by Albert and Joyce Bell out of the stakes-winning Bailjumper mare Cappucino Bay. Cox bought her as a weanling for $350,000 at the 2008 Keeneland November breeding stock sale. Katalpa Farm consigned for her breeders.
Multiple grade III winner Somali Lemonade, seeking to end a five-race winless streak, paid $12.60 and $8.80. The 6-10 exacta was worth $172.20. Angelica Zapata, just a head behind the runner-up, paid $5.