By Corrie McCroskey BloodHorse
The Oct. 9 Beldame Stakes (G2) for fillies and mares 3 years old and up turned into a public workout for multiple grade 1 winner Nest as the 1-20 favorite coasted by 9 3/4 lengths.
Settling into the middle of the five-horse field through early fractions of :24.52 and :49.01, the daughter of Curlin moved steadily behind Travel Column and First to Act around Aqueduct Racetrack. At the six-furlong marker in 1:13.16, the 3-year-old filly under Irad Ortiz Jr. met her rivals on the outside, 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 hit the mile mark in 1:38.59 and cruised to the wire in 1:52.38.
First to Act came second, and Hybrid Eclipse was third. Travel Column and The Grass Is Blue completed the order of finish.
Nest paid $2.10 to win and improved her record to 7-2-1 from 10 starts. Her earnings increased to $1,873,050 for Repole Stable, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, and Michael House.
“I was a passenger. She’s doing so good right now,” Ortiz said. “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.”
The filly has dazzled for her connections, missing the mark only twice, in runner-up finishes in the May 6 Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) and the June 11 Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1).
Her other starts this year include wins in the Suncoast Stakes, Central Bank Ashland Stakes (G1), Coaching Club American Oaks (G1), and last out in the Alabama Stakes (G1).
“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 Breeders’ Cup Distaff). It’s been an incredible blessing this year,” Repole said.
“She’s going to race at 4. She’s so special…and she’s getting better. Those were three ‘wow’ performances we just saw out of her and she’s improving every start. It’s great for racing. She’s a special filly.”
Nest was purchased by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners & Repole Stable for $350,000 at the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling Sale from the Ashview Farm consignment.
She is out of the AP Indy mare Marion Ravenwood who had five other foals to race: Idol, who won the 2021 Santa Anta Handicap (G1); Total Cooperation; Ark in the Dark; Dr Jack; and Lost Ark.