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Clenor Levels Out in Surfer Girl

Clenor wins 2013 Surfer Girl.
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…

“The 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.


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