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Roses for Debra Explodes to Win Caress S. (G3)

John O'Meara's Roses for Debra brought her win streak to three in a row with a smart off-the-pace victory in Saturday's $200,000 Caress (G3), a 5 1/2-furlong Mellon turf sprint for older fillies and mares at Saratoga Race Course.

Trained by Christophe Clement, the daughter of Liam's Map has now won six of her last seven starts, including the Malvern Rose last July over the synthetic at Presque Isle Downs. She made her graded stakes debut a winning one under Irad Ortiz Jr., who executed a well-timed ride to pounce on a swift pace set by Bubble Rock and land the 2 1/4-length score.

Roses for Debra has a spectacular turn of foot and when you have that kind of turn of foot in the straight, it's very dangerous,” said Clement.

Bred in Pennsylvania by Blackstone Farm, Roses for Debra was produced by the Bernardini mare Essential Rose. She banked $110,000 in victory and improved her lifetime record to 8-6-1-0. She returned $5.50 for a $2 win ticket as the 8-5 post-time favorite.




















Roses for Debra exited post 3 in the five-horse field cleanly while Our Flash Drive bobbled from the inside post and Bubble Rock sprinted to the front under Flavien Prat to lead the bunched-up field down the backstretch over the good footing.

Roses for Debra tracked one length back in second heading into the turn with Wakanaka keeping close watch in third while racing widest of all. Bubble Rock was asked for more from Prat as the field rounded the turn and Roses for Debra came within striking distance with Wakanaka looming large three-wide and full of run after a half-mile in 45.29.

A valiant Bubble Rock clung to a precarious lead into the stretch before Roses for Debra swept past her pacesetting foe at the eighth pole and drew clear from the advancing Wakanaka, who stormed home with giant strides but ran out of racetrack as Roses for Debra crossed the wire first in a final time of 1:02.39.
Wakanaka edged Bubble Rock out of place honors by a neck with Poppy Flower finishing another head back in fourth. Our Flash Drive completed the order of finish. 

Roses for Debra made her first five outings for trainer Michelle Brafford with four of them coming over the Presque Isle synthetic. This spring, Roses for Debra was moved into the care of Clement, who switched her to turf where she is now undefeated in three starts. Her other two starts for Clement were optional-claiming victories at Pimlico Race Course in May and at Belmont Park on July 3.

“She's very good. She was impressive at Pimlico. She was very impressive at Belmont. She came out of the race at Belmont in great shape,” said Clement. “When you run at Belmont you don't have to ship, you take them straight from the stalls to the paddock and back. I know it was ambitious, but why not have a look. It worked out. It's nice when you're aggressive and it works out.

“When they have that form on the synthetic, usually it translates really well on the turf,” Clement added. “After the way she won on the turf at Pimlico, I was convinced she was a grass filly. This is fun.”

-edited from



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