Clairière powers her way to repeat victory in Ogden Phipps

Clairière powers her way to repeat victory in Ogden Phipps
Photo: Daniel Rankin / Special to HRN

Elmont, N. Y.

The 5-year-old mare Clairière showed class and determination when she won the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps for the second year in a row. The Steve Asmussen trainee does her best running when she drops to the back of the field and gets a measure of her competition to prepare to beat them all in the final strides.

“She's gotten so much confidence and she's always been extremely intelligent,” Asmussen explained. “She knows when it matters. She picked it up just enough to the wire. After watching the Apple Blossom last time this one almost looked easy. You can see her in expression, how much do I need to do?”

Last year Clairière won the Phipps by a head and this year the margin of victory was a half-length. She was last in this field of six for the first half-mile some five lengths behind the pacesetter Played Hard who set moderate fractions of 24.32 and 48.63 seconds.

Clairière’s regular rider Joel Rosario sensed that the pace was not fast and asked her to start making up ground. She was fourth with six furlongs left to run and third as the field turned onto the stretch.

"It was a good trip, but at a slow pace, a little bit slow,” Rosario said. “We thought it was going to be a little bit quicker. She knows how to get it done and win a race."

Search Results, who was stalking the front runners, got past Played Hard and got to the lead first giving Clairière a target to chase and that she did. The Stonestreet home-bred surged in the final 100 yards to get her the fourth Grade 1 victory of her career.

“I am very proud and, of course, her mother (Cavorting) won this race, too. It’s been a family tradition,” Stonestreet owner Barbara Banke explained. We’re trying to win an Eclipse Award. We were close last year, really close. But maybe this year we’ll do it.”

Clairière was the 8-5 favorite and paid $5.50 to win. With Search Results in second as the 2-1 second choice, the $2 exacta returned $17.40. Played Hard hung on for third 2 1/2 lengths behind the top two completing a $73 trifecta.

“I’m unbelievably proud of her,” Asmussen added. “What a special mare. For her to continue to win races on this level is just incredible. She’s always been top-class and if anything, she’s better than she’s ever been. To continue winning is the goal with her, but we know where we’re aimed at with the Breeders’ Cup Distaff as her year-end target.”

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