2019 Nassau Stakes
Secret Message and jockey Trevor McCarthy head to the winner’s circle after the 2019 Nassau Stakes.
The $175,000 Nassau Stakes (G2) is the first stakes race on the turf in Canada this year, for older fillies and mares going 1 mile around one turn of Woodbine’s E.P. Taylor Turf Course. The race kicks off the new “Ladies of the Lawn”, which continues with the Dance Smartly (G2) on Queen’s Plate day, Canadian (G2) on Woodbine Mile day, and the E.P. Taylor (G1) on Canadian International day, with $75,000 in bonuses for the top performers based on accumulated points.
Conditions were excellent in Southern Ontario on the last Sunday in May, with partly cloudy skies and a post time temperature of 21C (70F), however heavy rains on Saturday downgraded the course to yielding, with all the other turf races on the card moved to the Tapeta main track. As expected, Canada’s 2018 champion turf female and Canadian Stakes (G2) winner Starship Jubilee was sent off as the 9-10 favorite in the field of 6 off her win in the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf at Gulfstream Park. In to challenge her included 9-4 second choice Secret Message, winner of the Dahlia at Laurel after finishing 6th in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1) at Keeneland, and 8-1 third choice and supplemental entry Summer Luck, second in an allowance in May after finishing 9th in last year’s E.P. Taylor Stakes (G1).
Secret Message (outside) runs down Starship Jubilee in the stretch.
Jockey Rafael Hernandez sent 9-1 Ghostly Presence to the lead and she set fractions of 24.65 and 47.90 while pressed by 18-1 longest shot Red Cabernet and stalked by Summer Luck and Starship Jubilee. Turning for home, Ghostly Presence tired allowing Starship Jubilee to inherit the lead through 3/4 in 1:11.62. Starship Jubilee and jockey Luis Contreras opened up a 3 length lead at the 1/8 pole, but Secret Message, 5th early under Trevor McCarthy, came out 3 wide for room and rallied to win by 3/4 length in 1:35.30. It was a long 5 3/4 lengths back to 10-1 Get Explicit third.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 5 Secret Message McCarthy 6.60 3.00 2.30 3 Starship Jubilee Contreras 2.40 2.10 4 Get Explicit Husbands 3.40 Winning Time: 1:35.30 $2 Exacta 5-3 14.80 $2 Trifecta 5-3-4 54.50 $2 Superfecta 5-3-4-6 236.90
Left: Secret Message in the winner’s circle. Winning jockey Trevor McCarthy said, The plan was to just let her break and get her to settle, said McCarthy. She was pretty sharp today, so I was a little nervous about how good she would break but she really turned out nice. We got some nice cover, we were able to the follow (Starship Jubilee) the whole way around there and get through and get the job done. Its a long stretch, its fun. Big sweeping turns so you can save plenty of ground and you have plenty of time to get through and get the job done.
Right: Secret Message returns to the barn after the race.
Left: Secret Message heads over to the paddock before the race. The Graham Motion trainee improved her record to 5 wins, 2 seconds, and 0 thirds in 11 starts, earning $327,448 for owners Madaket Stables, ERJ Racing, Elayne Stable 5, and Bouchey Thoroughhbred Ventures.
Right: Secret Message heads out for the post parade.
Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Starship Jubilee in the post parade. The 9-10 favorite stalked the pace under jockey Luis Contreras, led in the stretch but was caught late. The Kevin Attard trainee improved her record to 12 wins, 3 seconds, and 2 thirds in 27 starts, earning $678,062 for owner Blue Heaven Farm.
Right: Third place finisher Get Explicit returns after the race. The 10-1 shot was 4 1/2 lengths off the pace last early under Patrick Husbands but passed tiring horses late to get third beaten 6 1/2 lengths. The Barbara Minshall trainee improved her record to 3 wins, 3 seconds, and 4 thirds in 16 starts, earning $209,765 for owner-breeder Modeste Racing Stable.