Photo: Coglianese Photos/Lauren King
It took over a year for Naples Bay to return to the winner’s circle, but when all the conditions met her
picky standards, she came home a winner. By top sire Giant’s Causeway, 6-year
old Naples Bay has been a mare that has preferred a firm course throughout her
career, which began in 2011. Unfortunately for her, she kept catching softer
courses, even when they were labeled as firm, according to trainer Christophe
Clement. Today, despite conditions at Gulfstream Park threatening rain, the
mare caught a break in the G3 Marshua’s River.
Breaking from post 6 in the field of 10, Naples Bay with Joe
Bravo in the irons settled into sixth on the rail, stalking the early pace.
Silverette jumped out to the early lead, closely shadowed by Viva Rafaela, Somali Lemonade, and Angelica Zapata.
Those four raced closely grouped through fractions of 24:67, 48:71, and 1.12:66.
Turning for home, Silverette, Viva Rafaela, and Somali Lemonade lined up three
across the track with Somali Lemonade drifting out as the trio straightened for
home. That left a seam open for Naples Bay, who took full advantage of the
opportunity given to her and charged through, drawing away in the final strides
to win by a length.
Owned by Edward Cox, Jr., Naples Bay completed the mile and
a sixteenth in 1.41:73. Sent off at 8-1, the mare returned $18.20/$7.80/$5.80.
Somali Lemonade, who gained a brief lead in the stretch but was out finished by
the winner, returned $12.60/$8.80. Angelica Zapata finished third and returned
$5.00. Post time favorite Abaco
completed the superfecta and was followed in order by Deanaallen’skitten,
Silverette, Floral Romance, Viva Rafaela, Rose to Gold, and Poetic Kid.
Today’s win kept the daughter of Giant’s Causeway perfect at
Gulfstream Park in three starts. The Clement trainee began her career at the
South Florida track in 2011. She won her first two starts, both at Gulfstream
at a mile and a sixteenth, but went winless until capturing a pair of races
during the summer of 2012. All together, Naples Bay won 5 races from 18 career
starts for total winnings of $338,770.
After the race, trainer Christophe Clement praised the mare and jockey Joe Bravo, saying, “She had a great
trip and Joe gave her a great ride. She goes off to stud now and Mr. Cox is
sending her to Frankel, so we wish her the best of luck in her new career.”
Joe Bravo gently
teased the quirky mare in his post-race interview. “You know women are; you’ve
got to keep them happy. She just doesn’t really like a soft turf, and her bad
races on paper have been when she runs on soft turf. Christophe really loved
her last start. She was feeling great, but you know how fillies are; when they
don’t like something they’re not going to do it. Today she loved the surface,
and you see what she did,” he quipped. Bravo had previously rode the filly in
four other starts, booting home a win at Monmouth in a NW2X optional claimer at
Monmouth in August 2012.