Fresco keeps Clement barn clicking in NYSS

Thursday, July 23rd, 2020

Fresco scores maiden-breaking victory in $100,000 Statue of Liberty division of the New York Stallion Series. Susie Raisher/NYRA

By Tom Law

How well are things going for Christophe Clement these days at Saratoga Race Course?

So well he’s winning stakes with maidens.

Well, truth be told, Fresco was no ordinary maiden heading into Thursday’s Statue of Liberty division of the New York Stallion Series but just the same, winning a $100,000 restricted stakes with a winless and lightly raced filly is nothing to dismiss.

Fresco, a 3-year-old daughter of Freud and full sister to multiple stakes winner Therapist, played a part in keeping Clement’s barn clicking early into the 2020 Saratoga meet with a 1 ¾-length victory over Dixie Cannon in the Statue of Liberty. A homebred for Dick Leahy’s Oak Bluff Stables, Fresco won the 1 1/16-mile event in 1:45.43 over the course listed firm but with some cut thanks to rain Wednesday and Thursday morning in upstate New York.

Fresco provided Clement with the middle victory of a three-win day. He also won the third, a 2-year-old maiden on the grass, with first-time starter Plum Ali and sixth, a 1-mile turf allowance, with Simplicity. Clement leads the trainer standings after six days with nine wins, one more than Chad Brown.

“It’s fun,” Clement said after Fresco’s maiden-breaking score. “She broke her maiden in the stakes for her owner-breeder. She has black-type so it works for the whole program.

“Usually the owner will sell his colts and keep his fillies and he has been very successful with a small broodmare band. He bred Audible, he bred Therapist and he bred this filly and I’m just lucky to be a part of the program.”

Clement sold himself a bit short actually as he co-bred Therapist, who remains in training and has eight wins in 17 starts and $534,345 in earnings. Winner of the First Defence Stakes against open company last time out at Belmont, Therapist also won the Cab Calloway division of the New York Stallion Series in 2018 and five other stakes.

Clement wasn’t alone in enjoying a strong run on a humid and typical late July afternoon at Saratoga. Irad Ortiz Jr., who rode Fresco to victory, won five races on the card to get right back into the leading rider mix heading into Friday’s card.

Foaled at Berkshire Stud in Pine Plains, Fresco is the third winner out of the Smart Strike mare Lady Renaissance. Leahy bought Lady Renaissance for $15,000 at the 2009 Keeneland November breeding stock sale and later resold her at the 2018 Keeneland January horses of all ages sale for $52,000. In addition to Fresco and Therapist, Lady Renaissance is the dam of the winning-Gio Ponti mare Gio’s Lady.

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