Gulfstream Park Report (Cont.)

One Innuendo

Could the next day's The Very One Handicap (gr. IIIT) at the same 11-furlong distance for fillies and mares be a repeat? After all, Day was once again aboard a European import for Mott (Veiled Wings) who was fresh off a Gulfstream allowance win, while Bailey had the call on Innuendo, another odds-on Clement runner.

No, was the answer. First Mott opined that it wasn't likely, saying: "This one is not nearly as accomplished." Then Bailey made sure it didn't happen by keeping Gerald Leigh's homebred daughter of Caerleon close to the pace before drawing off for an easy win.

"He told me that this one doesn't have a big turn of foot," said Bailey about Clement's instructions. "But since there wasn't much of a pace, I didn't think that would be a problem."

Innuendo was prominent from the outset, never more than a couple of lengths behind pacesetters On a Soapbox and Free Vacation. Although Day tried to keep Innuendo boxed in, Bailey broke free and had moved alongside the leaders by the three-eighths pole.

"I knew I was able to dictate the pace the way I wanted it," said Bailey. "So what I did was spread the race out. I didn't want them bunching up behind me."

Innuendo quickly burst clear, opening up by three lengths in mid-stretch and coasting home a four-length winner. The closest challenger was a second Clement runner, Lucky Lune, who, despite headstrong forays that put her in tight on both the first and third turns, finished 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Silver Bandana. Clement blamed himself for her rankness, noting he may have trained her too hard since she returned from California after a poor effort in the Matiara Stakes.

That the trainer was able to salvage something from the weekend was only secondary to capturing The Very One for the second time, following the stakes record tally by Delilah in 1999. Although Innuendo had been close on multiple occasions, including missing by a head in each of her past two starts--the E.P. Taylor Stakes (Can-IT) and La Prevoyante Handicap (gr. IIT)--she had never captured a group or graded stakes.

"She's been very unlucky for me," noted Clement. "She's repeatedly proven her quality at 1 1/4 miles or farther, but because she's one-paced, she has never quite gotten there. Bailey rode her to perfection today."

The Very One was the sixth win and sixth North American start for the lightly raced 6-year-old mare with 15 lifetime starts. The $60,000 prize ups her career earnings to nearly $325,000.

"It's not about revenge," Clement reflected on the weekend's activities. "Even if yesterday was disappointing for me as a trainer, I'll adjust one or two little things and I'll be back."