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No Nay Mets won the 2023 Royal Palm Juvenile Stakes at Gulfstream Park, a “Win & You’re In” for 1 of 6 races at Royal Ascot. Is the George Weaver trainee a threat to win big at England’s biggest meet? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!
Bregman Family Racing LLC’s No Nay Mets got the jump on his nine rivals out of the starting gate and never looked back to register a 10-1 upset victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Royal Palm Juvenile at Gulfstream Park.
The Royal Palm Juvenile, a five-furlong turf stakes for 2-year-olds co-headlined Saturday’s 10-program with the $100,000 Royal Palm Juvenile Fillies, a five-furlong turf stakes for 2-year-old fillies. Each race provides its winner with an automatic berth into one of six stakes during the June 20-24 Royal Ascot meeting, as well as a $25,000 equine travel stipend for shipping from the U.S. to England, in addition to the winner’s share of the purse.
Steve Cauthen’s Holding the Line, the 3-5 favorite trained by 12-time Royal Ascot winner Wesley Ward, raced forwardly before fading to seventh.
Making his career debut, No Nay Mets held a narrow lead on the backstretch before clearing his pace disputers on the far turn under jockey Luca Panici. The George Weaver-trained Irish-bred colt shook off a strong outside challenge by Mattingly on the turn into the homestretch and drew off to a 3 ½-length victory.
No Nay Mets is a son of No Nay Never, whom Ward saddled for a victory in the Norfolk (G2) during the 2013 Royal Ascot meeting. His son will be given the chance to follow in his footsteps to Royal Ascot glory.
“He’s a pretty nifty colt. He was on a rushed schedule for this. There’s no reason not to go over there,” Weaver said. “It’s a lot of fun, and he’s got as good a chance as anybody.”
Alex Bregman, the Houston Astros All Star third baseman, heads Bregman Family Racing LLC.
“I met him last year down here. He’s a really, really, cool dude. He’s down to earth and has a lot of fun with the game,” Weaver said. “I love working for him and have something for him.”
No Nay Mets ran five furlongs on a firm turf in 57.50 after setting fractions of 22.98 and 45.44 seconds for the first half mile.
When No Nay Mets failed to meet his $335,000 RNA at the recent OBS April 2-year-olds-in-training sale, consigner Ciaran Dunne asked Weaver if he’d like to take over the colt’s training.
“He worked 20-and-2 [seconds for a quarter mile] and galloped out [three furlongs] in 36 at the 2yo sale in April. I just needed to get a gate work into him. It was kind of a crunched schedule to get him here,” Weaver said. “He was fit. It was just a matter of letting him spin his legs a couple of times. He was a No Nay Never, so it made sense he would handle the turf.”
Mattingly, named for Yankees great Don Mattingly, held second under Edgar Perez in his debut. Zaino, a 70-1 longshot ridden by Angel Morales, finished third, three-quarters of a length back.
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