Naissance Royale Gives Clement Nassau Win

(from Woodbine report)
Monceaux Stable's Naissance Royale outfinished Ambitious Cat to win the $308,900 Nassau Stakes (Can-II) for fillies and mares Saturday at Woodbine over a soft turf course.

Naissance Royale, the even-money favorite under Kent Desormeaux, swung outside of the leaders in mid-stretch and out-sprinted a game Ambitious Cat, last year's Sovereign Award winner as Canada's top female turf runner, in the last 70 yards to win by three-quarters of a length.

Kabul wound up third, 2 1/2 lengths further back. The running time was 1:46.16 for 1 1/16 miles.

Trainer Christophe Clement gained his second Nassau victory after saddling Siringas in 2002. Last fall, Clement won the $2 million Pattison Canadian International (Can-I), Canada's richest Thoroughbred race, with Relaxed Gesture.

Black Rock Road and jockey Todd Kabel set all the early fractions, with the first quarter in :25.69, the half in :50.01. As the field bunched up around the far turn, Desormeaux had tucked his filly in behind in fifth, while shadowing Ambitious Cat, the 5-2 second choice, who was on the rail.

At the top of the stretch, after six furlongs was reached in 1:15.33, Black Rock Road's five-length margin had dissipated, as she was challenged by Kabul and Hallowed Dream, with the two favorites right behind.

In mid-stretch, Desormeaux went wide and put Naissance Royale into a drive while Patrick Husbands and Ambitious Cat were able to find a seam between horses and drove through the hole to challenge. But Naissance Royale prevailed at the end.

"She's such a workaholic, she loves to run so much," said Desormeaux. "She's a little bit aggressive, and we were concerned about that. My job today was just to get her to turn off down the backside. We thought the ground would have plenty of give in it. That kind of thing takes its toll. She was perfect.

"Then, about three quarters of the way (around), I angled in and got close to the horse that was second (Ambitious Cat). She knew it was time to turn into a race horse. And she jumped in the bridle and took me all the way around there."

Naissance Royale, an Irish-bred 4-year-old daughter of champion Giant's Causeway , earned her third win in North America in only five starts since arriving from France last summer.

Last August, she won the Lake Placid Stakes (gr. IIT) at Saratoga, then finished a close fourth to Sweet Talker in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (gr. IT) at Keeneland in October. This year, she won her opener at Gulfstream Park before finishing a head behind Pommes Frites in the Beaugay Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Aqueduct in April.

The win was worth $180,000 to her connections, as she pushed her career bankroll to just shy of $400,000.

Naissance Royale returned $4.10, $2.70, and $2.10, combining with Ambitious Cat ($3.20, $2.30) for a $10.20 exacta. Kabul ($4.20) completed a trifecta worth $83.80.

Black Rock Road finished fourth with Hallowed Dream and Invitational following. Ballroom Deputy scratched.

(Chart, Equibase)