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Parnac won the 2023 Flower Bowl Stakes (G2) at Saratoga, a “Win & You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, in gate-to-wire fashion.
Trained by Christophe Clement, the French-bred daughter of Zarak earned her 1st career stakes victory. The 2/5 favorite McKulick finished 2nd in the field of 4.
2023 Breeders’ Cup
West Point Thoroughbreds and Dream With Me Stable’s Parnac made the grade with a gate-to-wire performance to hold off Grade 1-winner McKulick in Saturday’s Grade 2, $500,000 Flower Bowl, an 11-furlong inner turf test for older fillies and mares, at Saratoga Race Course.
In victory, the 4-year-old French-bred daughter of Zarak – trained by Christophe Clement and expertly piloted by Dylan Davis – earned a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf in November at Santa Anita Park.
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It was the second stakes win of the meet for Davis, who guided the Clement-trained New Ginya to victory here last weekend in the state-bred Yaddo Handicap.
“Our plan was to come out running. I knew the three horse [Tamarama] was the other speed. She was able to break – inside post really helped us here get dominance for the lead,” Davis said. “The three came up to me, but didn’t really want to continue on, and I was able to take control from there. After that, she got real comfortable with easy fractions with no pressure and she’s kind of a grinder type – that’s what I heard and [saw] watching her videos. I was able to pick her up into the last turn, get her running going before they got too close to her, and then she was able to hold them off.”
Parnac led through splits of 25.19 seconds, 51.33 and 1:18.92 over the firm footing with 9-1 shot Tamarama in second, McKulick, the 2-5 mutuel favorite saving ground in third, and the Clement-trained Amazing Grace last-of-4.
She continued to dictate terms into the final turn as Tamarama was asked for her best by Hall of Famer Javier Castellano with Irad Ortiz, Jr. giving McKulick her cue and the Joel Rosario-piloted Amazing Grace following suit. McKulick angled wide for the stretch run and took dead aim at the leader, but there was no reeling in Parnac, who posted the 1 1/4-length win in a final time of 2:18.60. McKulick completed the exacta by a neck over Amazing Grace with Tamarama another length back in fourth.
“The Clements had her ready. She’s a great horse and she likes the distance,” Davis said. “They had her ready today and I just was listening to them and what I needed to do. I hadn’t been on her before, so I watched replays and she was there for me when I asked her. She was able to pick up that last eighth of a mile to finish it up.”
Parnac launched her career with a pair of wins in October 2021 in Germany for conditioner Andreas Wohler before being purchased privately and transferred to the Clement barn last summer. She notched a rallying allowance score at fourth asking for new connections in October at Belmont at the Big A and was freshened following a seventh-place finish in the Winter Memories in November at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Parnac opened her current campaign with an even fourth in the Monroe in May at Gulfstream Park ahead of a rallying neck score in an 11-furlong optional-claimer on June 11 at Belmont Park. She entered from a close third-place finish over soft going in the 11-furlong Grade 3 Robert G. Dick Memorial on July 1 at Delaware Park.
Tom Bellhouse, Executive Vice President of West Point Thoroughbreds, credited Clement and his son and assistant, Miguel Clement, for having Parnac ready to run.
“We came out of the Dick Memorial, where a lot of horses had issues. We were asked to scratch from a race here a few weeks ago and we went ahead and did our due diligence,” Bellhouse said. “We got a full scan and passed with flying colors. Then Miguel and Christophe started putting their heads together to find the next spot for us. Sometimes, you get lucky in spite of things. Bad things happen, but good things happen to good people, too. They’ve done a phenomenal job with this filly.”
Klaravich Stables’ McKulick now sports a 4-2-2-0 record over the Spa turf, beginning with a maiden score in August 2021 ahead of her last-out score in the Grade 2 Glens Falls here on August 3. The Chad Brown-trainee ran second behind With The Moonlight in last year’s Grade 3 Saratoga Oaks Invitational.
Ortiz, Jr. said he was hindered by the slow pace but was reluctant to force the issue with last year’s Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational winner.
“She put me there. If they run away from me in the first part of the race, if I try to move that’s probably going to be a premature move, I don’t really want to do that, so I just rode my race,” Ortiz, Jr. said.
Clement said Parnac has a number of options going forward, including the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, the Grade 3 Long Island in November at Aqueduct or the Grade 1 E. P. Taylor on October 8 at Woodbine – a race he teamed up with Davis to win in 2021 with Mutamakina.
“We have a quite a few choices. Let’s enjoy this for a few days,” said Clement, who secured his eighth stakes win of the meet.
Bred in France by Jean-Pierre Dubois, Parnac banked $275,000 in victory while improving her record to 11-5-1-1. She returned $18.40 for a $2 win bet.
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