American Oaks 2023: Wet Paint shines again

The weekend at Saratoga was all about the girls, with sparkling performances from three very classy distaffers. The pick of the trio was the brilliant Nest, who returned from a long layoff in formidable fashion when strolling to victory in the G2 Shuvee on Sunday. Twenty-four hours earlier Wet Paint had come with her typical late rush to claim her first G1 victory in the American Oaks 2023, while the progressive Roses For Debra completed a three-timer and made her Graded-stakes breakthrough in the G3 Caress.

Breeders Cup Odds

Shuvee Stakes

G2, $200,000, 1m 1f dirt, 4yo+ females, Sunday

Nest plainly the best

The big two came together for Sunday’s highlight at Saratoga but in the end there was only one horse in it, as Nest returned from a long layoff to take the Shuvee in style, cruising away from her big rival Clairiere to set up what could be another memorable campaign for last year’s champion three-year-old filly.

The two principals were practically locked together on the tote board, with Clairiere slight favourite at 3-5 over Nest at 4-5, but the race clearly demonstrated the difference between them. Nest, having her first start since the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Distaff, broke sharply under the hot-handed Irad Ortiz and sat right behind the steady fractions of longshot Pistol Liz Ablazen, with Clairiere a couple of lengths further back.

When the pace quickened around the turn Nest was in the right place and Clairiere was in the wrong place, always liable to struggle with a game of catch-up, and Nest swiftly took control. She gradually eased away through the final furlong, crossing the line two and a quarter lengths clear of Clairiere, with Skratch Kat an outclassed third, ten lengths back.

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Nest returned from a long layoff to take the G2 Shuvee in style #Horseracing #Horseracingtips #Horsesoftiktok #Hosetiktok #Sports #FYP

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“She’s all class and it’s great to see her come back like that,” said trainer Todd Pletcher, winning his fifth Shuvee, a joint-record. “Irad got her into a comfortable rhythm and she finished off with plenty of energy.”

This success embellished Nest’s already exemplary record, giving her a eight-for-12 count, including three G1 wins, and pushing her career earnings past the $2m mark.

The only time she has finished off the board was when fourth in the aforementioned BC Distaff, and Pletcher will work back from that race – Santa Anita, November 4 – as he organises her schedule. Next stop could be the G1 Personal Ensign over this course and distance on August 25, a race the trainer won last year with dual champion Malathaat.

Shuvee Stakes 2023 Payouts

HorseWinPlace
1. Nest3.702.10
2. Clairiere 2.10
3. Skratch Kat  

Winning time: 1m 50.72s

Coaching Club American Oaks

G1, $500,000, 1m 1f dirt, 3yo fillies, Saturday

Wet Paint shines again

The process of redemption reached fairly rapid fruition when Wet Paint signed for her first victory at G1 level in the American Oaks 2023 at Saratoga on Saturday, making it back to the winner’s circle with a buzzer-beating defeat of Sacred Wish, with the favoured Gambling Girl a distant third.

The Blame filly had let the side down when fourth as favourite in the 2023 G1 Kentucky Oaks and was beaten at odds-on next time out. She was a different proposition here, sent off the 7-5 second-choice and given her habitual wait-and-come-late ride by Flavien Prat, who anchored her last of the five as longshot She’s Lookin Lucky ran the fractions.

Sacred Wish set sail for home at the top of the lane and appeared to have all bases covered, but Wet Paint was beginning a powerful stretch run that would get her to the line on time, and for all that Sacred Wish fought hard Wet Paint ran her down to take the money by a neck.

The pair drew eight and a half lengths clear of the labouring Gambling Girl in third. Hoosier Philly, who had beaten Wet Paint on their previous start, was a late scratch.

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Wet Paint wins the G1 Coaching Club American Oaks #Horseracing #Horseracingtips #Horsesoftiktok #Horsetiktok #sports #FYP #Horses

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“I’m glad she stepped up and finally got that Grade 1, that’s big for her,” said trainer Brad Cox, who won the CCA Oaks in 2018 with the brilliant Monomoy Girl. “She closes into a fast pace, she closes into a soft pace. That’s her thing, she always comes running.”

This breakthrough success took Wet Paint’s record to five-for-nine and made her a millionaire. Her earlier Graded scores came in the G3 Honeybee and G3 Fantasy, both at the Fair Grounds, but she is part of the big league now and will be pointed towards the G1 Alabama, over ten furlongs at the Spa on August 19.

American Oaks 2023 Payouts

HorseWinPlaceShow
1. Wet Paint4.903.002.10
2. Sacred Wish 5.902.80
3. Gambling Girl  2.10

Winning time: 1m 50.68s

Caress Stakes

G3, $200,000, 5 1/2f turf, 4yo+ females, Saturday

Roses shows true colours

This has been a breakthrough year for Roses For Debra, who maintained her perfect record in 2023 and claimed her first Graded-stakes success with a powerful display in the Caress, putting away Wakanaka and Bubble Rock in style.

The grey joined trainer Christophe Clement in the spring and a switch to the lawn has transformed her. She left the gate as the 8-5 favourite and never looked in danger of defeat under meet-leader Irad Ortiz, who rode five winners on the day. Roses For Debra followed the sizzling pace set by second-choice Bubble Rock until surging to the lead at the eighth-pole and drawing off to score by two and a quarter lengths, with Wakanaka rallying late to clip Bubble Rock for the place by a neck.

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Roses for Debra takes the G3 Caress in first graded stakes try #Horseracing #Horseracingtips #Horsesoftiktok #Horsetiktok #sports #FYP #Horses

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“She has a spectacular turn of foot, and that’s a dangerous weapon to have in the stretch,” said Clement. “She’s very good. This was a step up in class but it worked out – it’s nice when you’re aggressive and it works out.”

In 2022 Roses For Debra ran three-for-five for previous trainer Michelle Brafford, all her wins coming on the synthetic surface at Presque Isle Downs, including her stakes breakthrough almost exactly 12 months ago.

Caress Stakes 2023 Payouts

HorseWinPlaceShow
1. Roses For Debra5.503.502.50
2. Wakanaka 5.202.70
3. Bubble Rock  2.40

Winning time: 1m 02.39s

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