Abscond gets the bob in Woodbine's Natalma Stakes thriller

September 15, 2019 05:45pm

Odds-on favorite Fair Maiden ranged up to the leaders and looked poised to go by as an easy winner to Sunday’s Grade 1, $250,000 Natalma Stakes. But Abscond, who broke on top and dueled on the lead throughout the 1-mile Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf qualifier, got a nose down at the wire to emerge victorious in a thriller at Woodbine.

European shipper Walk in Marrakesh was the third party vying for top honors and closest to the rail after she and Abscond battled through opening fractions of 23.99 and 48.24 seconds and 1:12.56 for six furlongs.

Abscond, with jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. up, got the bob over Walk in Marrakesh with Fair Maiden settling for third in the field of seven 2-year-olds. Abscond won in a final time of 1:36.51 and paid $21.00 to win for trainer Eddie Kenneally.

"(Assistant trainer Kelly Wheeler) told me she’s a nice filly, she probably needed a little more ground last time,” said Ortiz, who also earned a Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf berth earlier on the card with a win aboard Decorated Invader.

“She was acting really good, she broke out of there and she broke sharp and just stayed in the middle of the turf course and she was relaxed. She was going relaxed in the middle of the track so I left her there, I didn’t fight too much with her.

“And then by the time I start saving some ground in the turn and when I asked her to go, she’s a fighter," Ortiz continued. "She fought with the outside horse and came back on the inside. She fought back and she put a head in front in the last couple of jumps. Everything worked out good for us."

Abscond won on debut in a turf sprint at Ellis Park on July 21 and came back to run second to a formidable rival in the Bolton Landing Stakes at Saratoga . The Aug. 14 winner, Kimari, also finished second earlier this year at Royal Ascot.

“I’m really impressed with her,” Wheeler said. “She’s done everything right since she broke her maiden. Really, we’ve asked a lot of her shipping her up to Saratoga – she handled that great. So we shipped her up here, it looked like a good spot, and she came through.”

Wheeler added that it was too soon to say for sure that a Breeders’ Cup appearance would be in the cards.

“I guess it’s up to Eddie and the owner,” said the assistant. “She’ll tell us, how she comes out of the race. She’ll ship back to Kentucky and we’ll go from there.”

Abscond is a 2-year-old daughter of Blame out of Solitary Life, by Grand Slam, was a $90,000 purchase at last year's Keeneland September yearling sale. She is campaigned by 
Apogee Bloodstock and Mike Anderson Racing campaign Abscond.


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