U.S. Rivals Try to Lick Classic Stamp in Nassau

(from Woodbine release)
Classic Stamp, the multiple stakes-winning daughter of Regal Classic, makes her 2005 added-money debut in Saturday's Nassau Stakes (Can-II) at Woodbine, an event that has attracted some strong talent from Canada and the United States.

Some of the biggest names in U.S racing, including trainers Kiaran McLaughlin and Bill Mott, along with jockeys Jose Santos and Cornelio Velasquez, will be on hand at the Toronto oval for the Nassau. The 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares is to be contested on the E.P. Taylor Turf Course.

McLaughlin sends out 6-year-old Secret Heart with Brice Blanc in the irons, while Mott saddles My Lordship, last year's winner of the inaugural Hill 'N Dale Stakes. Santos gets the call on the daughter of Lord Avie.

Velasquez will pilot Argentina-bred Que Puntual for conditioner Angel Penna, Jr.

The Canadian contingent is equally as impressive, including Ontario-bred Classic Stamp, as well as 2004 Flaming Page and River Memories winner My Pal Lana.

In the first test of her 5-year-old campaign on May 22, Classic Stamp, last year's Canadian Stakes champion and a Sovereign Award finalist in the Top Turf Mare category, found herself behind a wall of rivals in the stretch, denying her the chance to unleash her trademark late kick.

"There were two things that worked against her," said trainer Cliff Hopmans of the Bill Sorokolit-owned dark bay who finished fourth as the favorite in the one-mile allowance race. "She was boxed in like she was in a cage, and there was no significant pace for her to run at."

Hopmans will be hoping Classic Stamp has a clearer path in this weekend's race.

"She has a long, loping stride and, if the rider has to take a bit of a hold, she can lose four or five lengths before she's able to kick in again," said Hopmans. "She's a talented athlete, one of the best fillies I've ever trained. She's all guts and all heart. In fact, she reminds more of a colt. She's big and powerful."

Classic Stamp sports a record of five wins, four seconds, and five thirds from 17 career starts with $658,371 in lifetime earnings.

$300,000-added Nassau Stakes (Can-II), fillies & mares 3 & up, 1 1/16 miles (turf)
PP / Horse / Trainer / Jockey
1 / My Pal Lana / MacDonald Benson / David Clark
2 / Ambitious Cat / Eric Coatrieux / Robert Landry
3 / Secret Heart / Kiaran McLaughlin / Brice Blanc
4 / Classic Stamp / Cliff Hopmans Jr. / Patrick Husbands
5 / Mona Rose / Earl Barnett / Todd Kabel
6 / Noble Stella / Roger Attfield / Gerry Olguin
7 / My Lordship / William Mott / Jose Santos
8 / Kabul / George Nemett / Slade Callaghan
9 / Flashy Anna / Deborah England / Jill Scharfstein
10 / Que Puntual / Angel Penna Jr. / Cornelio Velasquez
11 / With Patience / Elizabeth Merryman / Jono Jones
12 / Faswiga / Ian Howard / Jim McAleney
13 / Out of Pride / Chantal Paquette / Constant Montpellier