De La Rose Could Be Key to Nobel Damsel Outcome

Edited press release
With five of the 13 runners entered for Saturday's grade III, $150,000 Noble Damsel for fillies and mares at a mile on Belmont Park's turf exiting divisions of the Aug. 29 De La Rose at Saratoga, figuring out which horses were best in the De La Rose should lead handicappers in the right direction.

Cloakof Vagueness and Path of Thunder, the winners of the split De La Rose, will run in the Noble Damsel. Path of Thunder's final time for the first division was 1:36 4/5 while Cloakof Vagueness stopped the teletimer in 1:34 3/5, meaning her division was significantly quicker.

Part of the reason why the second division was so much faster must have something to do with pace. In the first division, the early splits set by Path of Thunder were a dawdling :25 3/5, :51 and 1:14 1/5. Givememore set fractions of :23 4/5, :47 2/5 and 1:11 1/5 in the second division, so it is understandable why that race was run in faster time.

Roger Horgan, trainer of Givememore, loved his filly's race as a 25-1 longshot in the latter De La Rose, which was the Brazilian's first race since March 20th at Gulfstream.

"We've done a couple of different things with her," said Horgan, who was around the filly when he worked for Ken McPeek and now trains her for McPeek's former clients, Alnoff Stable. Givememore is one of 15 horses under Horgan's care at Saratoga.

"We gave her plenty of time after Gulfstream," Horgan continued. "She had chronic ulcers and we cleared those up. She was achy all over, so we wanted to do the right thing by her and give her time."

Givememore ran her eyeballs out in the De La Rose, finishing fourth but only beaten one-half length. After setting the early pace, she finished up her last quarter-mile in a very respectable :23 2/5.

"She ran a colossal race," Horgan said. "It's funny because it looked like there would be more pace in the first division, but as it turned out there was more speed in our division."

Givememore has displayed plenty of versatility in her eight-race career, with the first four runs in her native Brazil. She has won on turf and dirt and has shown the ability to run well on the lead and from just off the pace.

The mare who benefited the most from the legitimate pace in the second De La Rose division was winner Cloakof Vagueness. Since the De La Rose, Cloakof Vagueness tried tougher in the Ballston Spa Breeders' Cup (gr. IIIT) and finished sixth behind Alinghi and Que Puntual, two horses that would be very formidable in the Noble Damsel had they entered.

"She was down inside the whole way and left herself with an awful lot to do," said trainer Phil Hauswald of Cloakof Vagueness' Ballston Spa. "She closed a lot of ground, but she really needs things to go her way to run her best race. The De La Rose field seems more similar to the Noble Damsel than the Ballston Spa."

Hauswald said there has been no decision made yet regarding the mare's racing future. Cloakof Vagueness will be a strong addition to owner Steve Duncker's broodmare band when the time comes.

Live Oak Plantation's My Lordship was a neck behind Cloakof Vagueness in second at the finish of the second De La Rose after a three-wide trip all the way around Saratoga's inner turf course as the 2-1 favorite for trainer Bill Mott and jockey Jerry Bailey.

Back in the spring, My Lordship won the $60,000 Voodoo Dancer going a mile over the Widener turf course.

Michael Tabor's Path of Thunder was able to take advantage of a slow pace in the first De La Rose and had plenty left for the stretch drive beneath John Velazquez. The daughter of Thunder Gulch finished up the last quarter-mile in a sparkling :22 3/5.

Path of Thunder has never run over Belmont grass and her only start at the one-mile Noble Damsel distance was in the De La Rose.

The field for Saturday's $150,000 Noble Damsel

Pot position -- Horse, jockey, weight
1--Fortunate Damsel, Norberto Arroyo, 114
2--Bright Abundance, Richard Migliore, 114
3--Asti, Jorge Chavez, 113
4--My Lordship, Jerry Bailey, 116
5--Sabellina, Jose Espinoza, 114
6(a)--Path of Thunder, John Velazquez, 116
7--Cloakof Vagueness, Edgar Prado, 116
8--Lentil, Pablo Morales, 114
9--Stupendous Miss, Javier Castellano, 116
10--Givememore, Mike Luzzi, 115
11 -- Humoristic, Eibar Coa, 114
12(a)--River Belle, Gary Stevens, 115
AE -- 13 -- Stormina, Mike Smith, 109
(a)-Todd Pletcher-trained entry