Classic Lady extends Clement hot streak at Saratoga

Thursday, July 30th, 2020

Classic Lady (right) holds off War Canoe in Wednesday’s Dayatthespa Stakes at Saratoga. NYRA Photo/Susie Raisher

By Melissa Bauer-Herzog

Making a case this season for Saratoga Race Course to be renamed Clement Race Course, Christophe Clement won his third stakes race of the meet – and second in a New York-bred stakes – with Classic Lady in the Dayatthespa Stakes Wednesday.

The 5-year-old Classic Lady has taken a major leap in form this year when stepping up to stakes class in her only two 2020 starts.

Entered in the Mount Vernon Stakes for her seasonal debut, she lost by a nose to multiple stakes winner and New York-bred champion Fifty Five at Belmont Park over a mile July 2. An extension to 1 1/16 miles on Wednesday meant she had a few noses to spare when securing her first stakes success by a neck in the Dayatthespa.

Classic Lady made it clear she was going to be a threat from the start when racing in second with Joel Rosario aboard. It was an easily run race for the field with the first half run in :51.69 as the leading Vortex Road opened up 2 ½ lengths on the field with Classic Lady more than five ahead ahead of the third position.

Getting a breather through most of the early stages prepared Classic Lady for the duel she was about to enter racing into the stretch.

First focused on running down Vortex Road, Classic Lady was able to reach the longtime leader by the eighth pole but War Canoe was gaining. Those two entered a knockout battle with Classic Lady seeing her margin shrink to only about a head. The mare made one last burst to get her neck fully in front near the line when stopping the clock in 1:44.36.

“It was a perfect trip,” said Rosario. “I was just following the horse on the lead and I just wanted to take my time. She looked like she was there for me nicely, and I just waited for the right time to start going forward. She was very comfortable and happy where she was, and I was just following the horse on the lead waiting for the time when she was ready to go on.”

Classic Lady and War Canoe gave Michael Dubb and Bethlehem Stables something to celebrate with the pair owning both mares, along with Madaket Stables in War Canoe. The Chad Brown-trained War Canoe also split stablemates Classic Lady and Wegetsdamunnys to give Clement another big stakes result.

Dubb and trainer Jorge Abreu claimed Classic Lady for $50,000 at Gulfstream Park in January 2019 and she won twice in New York-bred allowance company before moving to Clement’s barn for 2020. Likewise, War Canoe was claimed by Dubb and trainer Jason Servis out of a win in November 2019. Moved to Brown’s barn, she opened her 2020 campaign with a third in the Mount Vernon.

“I like turf horses. I think often they peak by the time they’re five or even six,” Dubb explained. “I thought she had a future and had the right running style. We lost to Fifty Five by a nose last time, so Christophe really did a good job with her. War Canoe is an interesting mare. She’s seven years old. The owners last year put her [up for a claim] in November and I’m a patient guy, so I knew that if I paid the money and took my time, she would be able to compete at Saratoga in the summertime. It was a bit of advanced planning and she ran lights out.”

Crossing the $250,000 earnings mark with the victory, Classic Lady is the highest earning foal out of three to race from the stakes-placed Elle Tish Slew. Bred by Seth Gregory and Robert Barney, the Dayatthespa winner is far from her dam’s only successful racehorse, as Elle Tish Slew has also produced last year’s New York-bred Arctic Queen Stakes runner-up Forever Changed and 10-time winning New York-bred Calzini Rossi. Gregory purchased Elle Tish Slew at Keeneland November in 2010, and sold Classic Lady for $22,500 at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred yearling sale in 2016.

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