July 29, 2015
It took the entire length of the WO stretch for Natural Flower to win the Grade III Royal North Stakes last season, and while it did not take that long this time around, there were some anxious moments for her connections before she pulled away to a second straight score in the $150.000 event, this time by just over half a length. A five-year-old daughter of Barbarino, and a half-sister to a Grade II winning sprinter on the main track, she only has one real blemish on her record as of late when eighth in the BC Turf Sprint and can proudly state seven wins from 11 turf starts, with earnings over the surface of more than $600.000 to date.
Dont Stop (8.85) and Last Gesture (6.95) broke best in the Royal North with Hilarity Ensues (17.70) to their inside but it was truly a scramble into the far turn with everyone trying to secure some sort of inside position. An opening split of 22.46 saw Last Gesture winging it on the front end, both Evervescent (7.95) and Sassy Jones (*3.90) tucked in nicely with clear running room and Hilarity Ensues trying to hold her position inside and as the field marched around the far turn, those four looked to have the best chances with the back markers trying to get involved. At the head of the long WO stretch, through a half-mile in a blistering 45.19, Last Gesture was still all out to hold the lead as Evervescent and Sassy Jones closed in and with nothing left for Hilarity Ensues or Dont Stop outside, it was up to defending champion Natural Flower (4.70) to lead the closers home and with a dramatic rush, she found room inside and burst forward inside to take the lead just inside the 1/16th pole and come away with a half-length win over Evervescent, who held second over a charging Aurora Sails (5.75) in third. Sassy Jones failed to keep her momentum in fourth while Flying Corvette (8.55) and Ghastly (65.50) came with minor runs to finish in midpack, with Prudent Ghost (18.60) to their far outside. Dont Stop was wide the entire way, Hilarity Ensues backed up badly and Vorurtle (10.10) and Last Gesture wound up near the back of the pack behind the streaking winner.
It is hard to imagine how a few inches can change a horse race; Natural Flower ran .03 slower in winning the 2015 Royal North than she did winning the 2014 edition, and her time of 1:08.58 would have only gotten her third money against a solid field last season. It looks like the Turf Amazon Handicap might be the next logical spot for her, although the weight she might have to carry could persuade her owners to wait for the KD Ladies Sprint, as a prep for the BC Turf Sprint at KEE in early November.
Congratulations goes out to owner Natural Flower, a powerful inside winner of the Grade III Royal North Stakes at WO!
Prediction Natural Flower / Sassy Jones / Aurora Sails
Winner Natural Flower
Five-year-old black mare
Barbarino-Flower Flyer (Auto-Generated)
Owner Maxmillion Farm
Time 22.46, 45.19, 56.87, 1:08.58
Natural Flower 4.70 inside run, found room, driving
Evervescent 7.95 between rivals, clear late, caught
Aurora Sails 5.75 powerful late rally
Sassy Jones *3.90 no momentum in final furlong
Flying Corvette 8.55 even effort
Ghastly 65.50 one-paced
Prudent Ghost 18.60 wide run
Dont Stop 8.85 pressed, faded
Hilarity Ensues 17.70 no late threat
Vorurtle 10.10 outrun
Last Gesture 6.95 pace, tired
Triple T Racing 🙂
Categories: Grade III