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2023 Ogden Phipps Stakes Replay | Clairiere Reels In Search Results Late To Repeat As Winner
Clairiere (Sue Kawcyznski/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM)

2023 Ogden Phipps Stakes Replay | Clairiere Reels In Search Results Late To Repeat As Winner

The Steve Asmussen-trained Clairiere reeled in Search Results late to win the 2023 Ogden Phipps Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park, a “Win & You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. After repeating as champion of this race, is the 5-year-old Curlin mare the best older dirt female in America? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!

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The press release:

Stonestreet Stables’ Kentucky homebred Clairiere didn’t shy away from employing a late bid to nab the Grade 1, $500,000 Ogden Phipps in last year’s edition. Bidding for a repeat, she again demonstrated a stretch-drive surge to rally late, running down Search Results in the final sixteenth for a half-length victory in the 1 1/16-mile main track contest for older fillies and mares on Saturday at Belmont Park on Belmont Stakes Day.

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In victory, Clairiere again earned a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff, held this year in November at Santa Anita Park, for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. The daughter of Hall of Famer Curlin [who was also an Asmussen trainee for Stonestreet Stables] ran a close third in last year’s Distaff at Keeneland and – by capturing the 55th running of the Ogden Phipps – became the race’s first back-to-back winner since Take D’Tour in 2006-07 and fourth repeat winner overall.

Stonestreet Stables’ owner Barbara Banke brought the 5-year-old Clairiere back to the races for another shot at a first Eclipse Award for Champion Older Dirt Female and third attempt at the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

Banke said she was thrilled with the dramatic score engineered by Joel Rosario from the daughter of 2016 Ogden Phipps-winner Cavorting.

“I am very proud and of course her mother won this race, too. It’s been a family tradition,” Banke said. “She does have a late kick and Joel left it just enough to give me a slight coronary condition, but she made it through. We’re trying [to win an Eclipse Award]. We were close last year, really close. But maybe this year we’ll do it.

“It’s always better when it’s a homebred,” Banke added. “We have her mother and of course her dad, Curlin. It’s all in the family. I have a really good [foal] that’s a full [brother] to Clairiere.”

Played Hard, under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, broke well and led the six-horse field through the opening quarter-mile in 24.32 seconds over the fast main track. Gamestonks, the longest shot on the board at 42-1, made a bid before the half-mile mark, going in 48.63, before coming back to the field.

In the stretch, Clairiere made a strong bid from the outside and zeroed in on Search Results, ridden by Flavien Prat, to her inside. Clairiere thundered home in completing the course in 1:43.40, notching her second straight victory following a win by a neck in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom Handicap in April at Oaklawn Park.

“It was a good trip, but at a slow pace, a little bit slow,” Rosario said. “We thought it was going to be a little bit quicker. She knows how to get it done and win a race. She’s very special. She really goes out there and does her job. Not many come that way.” 

Search Results, trained by Chad Brown, bested Played Hard by 2 1/2 lengths for second. Pass the Champagne, Secret Oath and Gamestonks completed the order of finish.

Off as the 8-5 favorite, Clairiere retuned $5.50 on a $2 win wager. The 5-year-old improved to 8-5-3 in 19 career starts, exceeding the $3 million mark in earnings with a career bankroll of $3,106,392.

“I’m unbelievably proud of her. What a special mare,” Asmussen said. “For her to continue to win races on this level is just incredible. She’s always been top class and if anything, she’s better than she’s ever been. To continue winning is the goal with her, but we know where we’re aimed at with the Breeders’ Cup [Distaff] as her year-end target.”

Added Rosario: “I was very confident. However, you never know… you never know. It looked like a second a horse got away from me, but she [Clairiere] was able to put it all together and come with the run that she always does to get it done.” 

Klaravich Stables’ Search Results, who ran third in last year’s Ogden Phipps, again earned black type in the prestigious race but fell short to Clairiere. But the 5-year-old Flatter mare has finished on the board in all but one of her 14 career starts, moving to 6-3-4.

“It was a tough beat. She ran a good race,” Prat said. “Bad beat.”

Rigney Racing’s Played Hard entered with back-to-back wins, posting victories in the Grade 3 Falls City in November at Churchill Downs to close her 2022 campaign and a win in the Grade 1 La Troienne in May at Churchill in her seasonal debut before for trainer Philip Bauer.

“I thought she ran good,” Velazquez said. “We both [Prat aboard Search Results] kind of made premature moves and we both got beaten. I thought I was where I wanted to be, settling nicely in the middle of the track over there. They ran a little faster than her today.”