'Todd the Sod' Slows Inish Glora, Wins Nassau

(from Woodbine report)
Jockey Todd Kabel and Inish Glora stole the featured $322,250 Nassau Stakes (Can-III) with a cleverly planned pace strategy Saturday at Woodbine.

After poking along through an opening quarter-mile in :25.08 and the first half mile in a slow 48.99 seconds over a "firm" E.P. Taylor Turf Course, Inish Glora had enough in the tank to repel a stretch challenge from odds-on Ocean Drive and jockey Rene Douglas. She prevailed by three-quarters of a length at the finish of the 1 1/16-mile event for fillies and mares.

Classic Stamp wound up third, 2 1/2 lengths further back.

With the distance timed in 1:40.38, the second-fastest edition of the added-money event since 1995, the leaders picked it up in the last quarter of a mile. Inish Glora turned the the Nassau into a sprint down the long stretch.

Of course, the talented 6-year-old mare, trained by Hall of Famer Mac Benson, doesn't needs to resort to thievery to win. Her record speaks for itself. Last year, the Robert Costigan-owned daughter of Regal Classic won three of six starts, including the Victoriana and Canadian Stakes, banking $359,667 on her way to honors as Canada's champion female turf horse.

"We expected there would be a strong pace in this race but nobody wanted to lead," explained the crafty Kabel, who continues to mow down opponents on the lawn so far this year at Woodbine. Kabel also won the race following the Nassau aboard Silver Ticket, making it 10 wins in 16 turf mounts. His success rate is so high that it has prompted track announcer Dan Loiselle to refer to Kabel as 'Todd on the Sod' and 'The Sodmeister'.

"I certainly wasn't going to go any quicker than I had to," continued Kabel. "So I just bided my time before I straightened home and let her sprint home. She ran a helluva race. When that other horse (Ocean Drive) came to me, she just dug in and ran a terrific race today."

"The mare wintered exceptionally well," said Benson. "Todd really did a magnificent job of slowing the pace down. He found himself on the lead and he knew what to do. I kind of thought he won the race in the first quarter of a mile."

The win, her second in as many starts this year after scoring by a neck in her prep for the Nassau on May 16, was worth $193,350 to her connections, pushing her career earnings to over the $785,000 mark.

Sent postward the 7-2 second choice, Inish Glora returned $9.00, $3.20 and $2.60, combining with Ocean Drive ($2.60, $2.20) for a $20.90 (5-6) exacta. Classic Stamp ($2.80) fashioned a $64.20 trifecta payout.

(Chart, Equibase)