Photo: Benoit Photo
Covered up early and full of run around the final
turn, 3-5 favorite Clenor
, with Rafael Bejarano aboard, angled five-wide
a quarter of a mile from home and leveled out impressively through the
lane, winning Sunday’s $100,000 Surfer Girl Stakes by three-quarters of a
length, getting a mile on grass in 1:34.38 and projecting herself as
perhaps the horse to beat in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile
Fillies Turf at Santa Anita Nov. 1.
Impressive at odds-on in her first two stateside starts at Del Mar,
Irish-bred Clenor is now a perfect three for three going one mile on
turf for trainer Doug O’Neill.
“She’s such a nice filly,” said O’Neill. “Raffy said he sensed speed
was holding, so he didn’t want to give her too much to do. He had her a
little closer up today and she responded well.
“Breeders’ Cup here we come, as long as she stays injury-free, that’s the goal.”
Owned by Scott Kaplan’s Great Friends Stable, Robert Cseplo and Steven
Keh, Clenor paid $3.40, $2.80 and $2.40. With the winner’s share of
$60,000, she increased her bankroll to $172,799 and she now has three
wins and a third from six starts.
Breaking from post position number three in a field of 10, Bejarano
hugged the rail into and around the Club House turn while sitting mid
pack. Full of run in fifth position leaving the three furlong mark,
Bejarano allowed his filly to idle in behind horses before angling out
at the quarter pole and setting his sights on longshot Nesso and Martin
Garcia, who had spurted clear around the turn.
“The speed was holding all day, so I didn’t want to be too far back,”
said Bejarano, who had guided Clenor to consecutive last-to-first
tallies at Del Mar. “I tried to stay closer to the speed and get her
comfortable. She didn’t show me the big kick that she normally does,
but she still ran well.
“I think from here on it will only be better for me because there will
be more speed and more competition (in the races to come).”
Nesso, trained by Vann Belvoir, was the fourth choice in the race at
10-1 and finished three-quarters of a length in front of Colonel Joan
and Joe Talamo. Nesso paid $6.80 and $4.60.
“We didn’t really know what to expect today,” said Belvoir. “We were
hoping the speed horses would run away from the gate and she would be
able to fold in. It worked out perfectly…I was almost worried Martin
went a little early, but he had to make a decision to get her over and
get around them…
Breeders’ Cup is definitely a consideration. The owner (Amaty Racing
Stables) says he wants to go, so we’ll talk.”
Colonel Joan, off at 12-1, paid $5.60 to show.
Fractions on the race were 22.38, 46.31, 1:10.78 and 1:22.75.
There is a two-day Pick Six carryover into Thursday of $575,466 and it
is expected Thursday’s total pool could reach $2.5 million. First post
time for an eight-race program is 1 p.m.