NOBLE DAMSEL S. | PURSE: $150,000 | 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP | FILLIES AND MARES | GRADE 3 | ONE-MILE TURF
Naples Bay broke through with her first stakes victory in the $150,000 Noble Damsel on the turf at Belmont Park Sept. 15, collaring pacesetter Silver Screamer past mid-stretch and holding favored Dealbata safe for a 1 1/2-length win.
Ridden by Jose Lezcano, the royally-bred 4-year-old Giant's Causeway filly was sent off at odds of 13-1. She has won her past two starts for trainer Christophe Clement and owner Edward A. Cox Jr.
Naples Bay, out of stakes winner Cappucino Bay (by Bailjumper), is a half sister to prominent sire Medaglia d'Oro and cost $350,000 as a weanling purchase at Keeneland in November 2008. Albert and Joyce Bell bred the winning dark bay or brown filly in Kentucky.
"It's a big deal, because she's a half-sister to Medaglia d'Oro, so she's very well-bred and she's a graded stakes winner," said Clement, who also saddled fourth-place finisher Federation. "Mr. Cox has been in the game forever, and it's a wonderful win for him. He's been very loyal to the stable. I'm delighted."
Naples Bay completed the Noble Damsel's one-turn mile in 1:33.96 over firm going on the Widener course. She was coming off a 4 1/4-length win over an allowance/optional claiming group Aug. 17 on the turf at Monmouth Park.
"I thought she was very impressive in the allowance at Monmouth, and I've got an owner who's got a very strong character," Clement said. "More often than not he's right, and he told me to think about this race and he was absolutely right. She's a bit tougher now, and also we got to know the filly better. We slightly undertrain her now compared to what we used to do. She got better, without a doubt, with age."
Irish-bred Dealbata, making her third start in New York after racing previously in France, was favored in the Noble Damsel following her late-running second in the De La Rose Stakes at Saratoga Race Course Aug. 4 for trainer Chad Brown.
Silver Screamer, the 123-pound high weight in the field of nine older fillies and mares, opened up on her rivals by nearly six lengths down the backstretch while clicking off solid fractions of :23.41, :46.18, and 1:10. She slowed the tempo on the turn but still owned a two-length advantage heading into the stretch.
Naples Bay, in a stalking position in third just off the inside for Lezcano, moved into contention at the quarter pole and displayed a good kick in the lane to draw even approaching the sixteenth marker. She edged clear from there and remained in command to the wire as the 3-2 choice Dealbata rallied late under Ramon Dominguez to overtake Silver Screamer and Jose Espinoza by a half-length.
"She broke good and just relaxed, and when I asked her she gave me good kick," Lezcano said of the winner. "I think she is a very nice filly."
Federation was fourth, followed by Kya One, La Cloche, Embarr, Law of The Range, and Julie's Love.
Naples Bay earned $90,000 for her fourth victory in 10 outings to boost her bankroll to $210,170. She paid $28, $10.20, and $5.90 while keying a $98 exacta with the Dealbata ($3.70, $2.60). Silver Screamer paid $4.70.