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Nuovo Record nips Arles in Red Carpet warm-up for Hong Kong

By Kellie Reilly

Japan’s Nuovo Record (left) turned the page on a disappointing Breeders’ Cup by inflicting heartbreak on even-money favorite Arles in Thursday’s $101,725 Red Carpet H. (G3) at Del Mar. Angled off the rail by Yasunari Iwata and gaining steam at the last instant, the 5-1 shot got up at the wire in her prep for the December 11 Hong Kong Vase (G1).

Trainer Makoto Saito called the audible to run Nuovo Record in this spot after her subpar 11th in the Filly & Mare Turf (G1) at Santa Anita. The combination of class relief, a much slower early tempo, and likely the added ground – on this kind of circuit – contributed to a far more representative performance, and helped her end a losing skid dating back to March 2015.

Iwata’s role shouldn’t be minimized either, since he was her regular rider in Japan until this spring Together, they’d edged champion Harp Star in the 2014 Japanese Oaks (G1), and beat males in last year’s Nakayama Kinen (G2). Was she happier to respond with Iwata back in the saddle?

Breaking from the rail, Nuovo Record traveled smartly just off the pace carved out by Frenzified through splits of :24.49, :49.74, 1:15.26 and 1:40.02 on the firm course. Arles was well placed to offer the first challenge, and her move would ordinarily have been decisive. But she bumped into a high-class rival on her day, and lost no caste by losing a photo. The top two both accelerated through their final furlong in :11 and change, resulting in a final time of 2:15.56 for 1 3/8 miles.

The 26-1 Swear By It rode the inside to third, followed by Into the Mystic. Frenzified wound up fifth of 10.

Although Nuovo Record didn’t have to run up to her former best to win this, her Red Carpet heroics at least indicate she’s got life in those legs yet. Connections are already speaking of the 2017 Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar, knowing that she can deliver on the Jimmy Durante turf course. But first she’ll face world-class males, led by Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) star Highland Reel, in the Vase on the Hong Kong International Races program at Sha Tin.

Nuovo Record, by the Sunday Silence stallion Heart’s Cry, advanced her scorecard to 20-6-6-1 with nearly $5 million in earnings. For details on her Japanese career, see her Breeders’ Cup international profile.

Quotes from Del Mar

Winning connections via interpreter 

Jockey Yasunari Iwata: “We were drawn down on the inside and I wanted to stay there – to save ground. This is a tight course and I wanted to save all I could. It was an ideal trip that way. The first time around she was running well. Then when we came into the stretch the second time, the horses in front of me fanned out. I thought they would and I went outside. My mare has a really good late kick. She showed it today.”

Trainer Makoto Saito: “Today, she ran as well as she had in Japan and we are so glad that she could make it happen the same way in the U.S. Outside the Breeders’ Cup she has always run well. This time some horses went to the front so she could stalk and the race went as I was thinking it would. I think we will have even bigger expectations for her next year and we would like to come back to Del Mar for the Breeders’ Cup.” 

Jockey Joel Rosario on near-misser Arles: “Tough one. What are you going to do? She ran great. Too good to get beat. But sometimes you do.”

Photo courtesy of Benoit