Marbye Outkicks Her Rivals in Prix d'Astarte

Unheralded Marbye finished the best of several runners in the closing stages to register a half-length victory in the Prix d'Astarte (Fr-I) for fillies and mares at Deauville Sunday.

The first seven finishers in the race finished within two lengths after chasing a slow pace.

But it was the Italian-trained Marbye, sent off at odds of 12-1 with jockey Mirco Demuro for owner Teruya Yoshida, who got the job done. She switched to the middle of the track 200 yards from home and flashed the most acceleration to grab the lead with 120 yards to go. She finished in a full drive, holding off Majestic Desert. Favored Nebraska Tornado, ridden by Gary Stevens, was three-quarters of a length farther back in third.

The were followed in a blanket finish by well-fancied Monturani, Martha Stewart, Cattiva Generosa and Denebola, Rumba Loca finished last.

The time for the one-mile straight was 1:36.7 on good going.

Marbye, an Irish-bred 4-year-old daughter of Marju, was fifth to Saturday's Nassau Stakes (Eng-I) winner Favourable Terms at Royal Ascot in June. Trainer Bruno Grizetti won his first group I race in France.

She was held up toward the back of the field and was slightly hampered after progressing a quarter-mile from home. But she persevered on the outside to edge past the leading Nebraska Tornado and Monturani. Marbye quickened faster than Majestic Desert, who also raillied late under Mick Channon, and had plenty in reserve. Nebraska Tornado came back late to nab third by a shoulder over Monturani, who had every chance to win.

Marbye was third to Bright Sky and Six Perfections in the d'Astarte a year ago.

"She hated the undulations at Ascot but still ran well," Grizetti told Racing Post. "This was no surprise as she went so well in the race a year ago."

Demuro said the filly overcame a little trouble. "I had to check the filly 400 meters out but we were always going well and she won easily in the end."

Stevens, who led early with Nebraska Tornado, said he might have tried another tactic. "It was a very slow pace and maybe I should have gone on and made the running as Nebraska Tornado as she already won over longer than ten furlongs. We were outpaced and then she ran on again at the finish."