Nest Untouchable in Beldame, Nagirroc Wins Futurity Thriller

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Nest tuned up for a start in the Nov. 5 Breeders’ Cup Distaff with an overpowering 9 ¾-llength win in the Beldame Stakes Oct. 9 at Belmont at the Big A. (Eclipse Sportswire)

The $250,000, Grade 2 Beldame Stakes Oct. 9 at Belmont at the Big A turned into a public workout for multiple Grade 1 winner Nest  as the 1-20 favorite coasted by 9 ¾ lengths.

After settling into the middle of the five-horse field through the first half mile, the daughter of Curlin began to move up under Irad Ortiz Jr., met her rivals on the outside in the far turn, and they quickly proved to be no match. Blazing down the stretch several paths wide, Nest opened up to draw away further.

The Todd Pletcher trainee finished 1 1/8 miles 1:52.38 and now moves on to the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff Nov. 5 at Keeneland as one of the favorites. Pletcher also trains Malathaat, who earned a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Longines Distaff later in the day by winning the Juddmonte Spinster Stakes at Keeneland.

“I was a passenger. She’s doing so good right now,” Ortiz said of the winning filly. “I broke good. Before, she used to break a step slow. Now, the last couple of times she’s been breaking good out of there, and that’s a big advantage because I don’t have to use that much.

“She put herself in the race and I just waited for my time to go. Then I let her do her thing. She’s so nice.”

Nest improved her record to 7-2-1 from 10 starts. Her earnings increased to $1,873,050 for owners Repole Stable, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, and Michael House. She’ll enter the Longines Distaff on a three-race winning streak, as she impressively took both the Coaching Club American Oaks and the Alabama Stakes during Saratoga’s summer 2022 meet to emerge as the top 3-year-old filly in training.

“For Eclipse, myself, and Todd (Pletcher), she’s been an incredible filly,” said co-owner Mike Repole. “She had two tough races in Saratoga, even though she won impressively. We didn’t want to give her 11 weeks off, so we needed to find the right spot and get her a good start where she would have to assert herself but save something for four weeks from now, and I think we found a perfect spot.”

Repole said Nest will eye a start at Keeneland in November.

“Nest will probably be a top two or three favorite (in the Distaff). It’s been an incredible blessing this year,” Repole said.– Corrie McCroskey

Nagirroc Earns Breeders’ Cup Berth with Futurity Win

Nagirroc proves best in Futurity. (Eclipse Sportswire)

Nagirroc proved best in a close finish later on the Oct. 9 card at Belmont at the Big A, winning the $150,000, Grade 3 Futurity Stakes by a neck over Gaslight Dancer. The 2-year-old Lea colt earned an expenses-paid berth to the Nov. 4 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint with the victory, his second in a row in three overall starts.

With Manny Franco riding, Nagirroc broke sharp out of the gate but then stalked the pace while saving ground through the turn in the six-furlong Futurity. Franco tipped his mount outside and engaged leaders Vacation Dance and Gaslight Dancer in early stretch, and Nagirroc took a short lead in deep stretch that he did not relinquish, prevailing in a game effort. Final time was 1:09.36 on firm turf.

Graham Motion trains Nagirroc for Madaket Stables, Little Red Feather Racing, and William Strauss. He came into the race off of a 3 ½-length score in a six-furlong maiden race over the same turf course on Sept. 24.–ABR Staff

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