By Molly Rollins BloodHorse
One race after a nose victory from Mo Donegal in the Dec. 4 Remsen Stakes (G2), trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. teamed up again with Nest to capture another graded event with a heart-pounding finish in the $250,000 Demoiselle Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Repole Stable, Eclipse Thoroughbreds, and Michael House’s Nest launched her career with a dominating debut win Sept. 26 traveling two turns at Belmont Park. Trying stakes company Nov. 5 in the one-mile Tempted Stakes, the daughter of Curlin ‘s belated rally fell three-quarters of a length short of catching Gerrymander and Magic Circle .
Stretched back out to 1 1/8 miles in the Demoiselle, Nest went off as the narrow 8-5 favorite over the Christophe Clement-trained Tap the Faith . Magic Circle sped to the front in the early stages, setting a steady pace of :25.05 and :50.72 with Full Count Felicia and Venti Valentine on her hip. Nest, who was forced to take the overland route around the track while carried five wide around the clubhouse turn, settled a few lengths back in fourth position.
Ortiz shook up the reins on Nest after a dawdling three quarters in 1:15.80, and the bay loomed four wide into the lane to engage Venti Valentine and Magic Circle in a stretch duel to the finish. Nest ultimately prevailed by a neck over Venti Valentine, who ran gamely between horses to outrun Magic Circle by three-quarters of a length for second.
Immediately following the Demoiselle, jockey John Velazquez aboard Venti Valentine lodged a claim of foul against Ortiz, alleging interference in the stretch. Stewards disallowed the claim and let the results stand.
Nest clocked the 1 1/18 miles on a fast main track in 1:55.07. She paid $5.50 for the win.
“There have been some tight finishes and a little drama to go along with it, but I’m thankful to be on the right side of it all,” said Pletcher. “(Nest) was never able to take over and save much ground, but she got the job done. I’m obviously very happy to be on the winning end.”
Pletcher said Nest would join his string at Palm Beach Downs for the winter after earning 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks.
Jorge Abreu, trainer of Venti Valentine, is also planning on sending his charge to Florida for her 3-year-old campaign.
“(Venti Valentine) ran her race,” he said. “I thought she was going to run the way she ran. Unfortunately that seven horse (Magic Circle) had to come out and she kind of stopped her momentum, but she ran a very good race.”
Longshot Golden Essence , pulled up around the far turn during the Demoiselle, incurred a suspensory injury and will be retired as a broodmare, owner-trainer Uriah St. Lewis told NYRA publicity after the race.
Nest was bred in Kentucky by Ashview Farm and Colt’s Neck Stables. She was sold to Eclipse Thoroughbreds and Mike Repole for $350,000 as a yearling via Ashview’s consignment to the 2020 September Yearling Sale at Keeneland.
Out of the stakes-winning A.P. Indy mare Marion Ravenwood , Nest is full sister to this year’s Santa Anita Handicap (G1) hero Idol and a half sister to TVG.com Pegasus Stakes third-place finisher Dr. Jack (Pioneerof the Nile). The dam of four winners from five foals to race, Marion Ravenwood has a yearling colt by Violence named Lost Ark, acquired by bloodstock agent Steve Young at the Keeneland September Sale for $275,000.