Raging Sea (inside) makes the grade in the Comely under Manny Franco (Chelsea Durand)
By Mary Eddy – NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Alpha Delta Stables’ Kentucky homebred Raging Sea fended off the late bid of graded stakes-winner Julia Shining to notch her first graded victory in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Comely, a nine-furlong test for sophomore fillies, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by four-time Eclipse Award-winner Chad Brown, Raging Sea doubled up on victories after a last-out 3 1/4-length allowance score on October 20 at Keeneland, which marked her first trip to the winner’s circle since a debut graduation last August at Saratoga Race Course. The daughter of Curlin made her first appearance in stakes company since finishing third in last year’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Keeneland.
“It’s really nice to see her get that graded win,” said Brown. “It took her awhile to get her season going but we were all patient with her and I appreciate the patience from the owner, Jon Clay. He’s a really good client of ours and a huge supporter of our stable. He always seems to send us a high percentage of stakes horses and he’s a really wonderful man to train for. He bred this horse, so that’s a good thing.”
Guided to victory by Manny Franco, Raging Sea delivered a stalk-and-pounce performance after breaking from the outermost post 8 and settling in behind rivals early. Ichiban showed speed from the inside post and took command over post-time favorite Defining Purpose and an eager Just Katherine through an opening quarter-mile in 24.62 seconds over the fast main track.
Raging Sea rated patiently in fifth position as the field spread out down the backstretch behind Ichiban, who coasted to the half-mile call in 48.74 before Defining Purpose was nudged along by Junior Alvarado to loom a half-length behind the pacesetter. Franco was forced to tip his mount five-wide in pursuit of the top duo as Just Katherine made a brief bid in the three-path towards a retreating Ichiban, who marked three-quarters in 1:13.11 before Defining Purpose put a head in front at the five-sixteenths.
Defining Purpose clung to her precarious advantage at the top of the stretch with Raging Sea bearing down on her outside under strong left-handed encouragement from Franco, but the late-running Julia Shining, who trailed in last throughout, advanced with purpose down the center of the course under Kendrick Carmouche to join the fray. Raging Sea put her head in front of Defining Purpose at the eighth pole and dug in determinedly to the wire under a hand ride to find enough late and stave off Julia Shining by a nose in a final time of 1:50.86.
Honor D Lady put in a late run to nab show honors from Defining Purpose with Just Katherine and Ichiban completing the order of finish. Corningstone and Warrior’s Ransom were scratched.
Franco, who notched his third stakes score of the Aqueduct fall meet, said Raging Sea reengaged when challenged by the Todd Pletcher-trained Julia Shining.
“When I passed the seven horse [Defining Purpose], she kind of slowed down and tensed a little bit – I said, ‘Come on, filly,’” said Franco. “I know the Pletcher is going to come late. When my filly felt that, she gave me another gear.”
Raging Sea provided the first Comely victory for Brown, who said her wide run into the stretch was troubling.
“She got quite a wide trip on the turn and I was quite concerned deep in the stretch that she would get caught because of how wide Manny had to go,” said Brown. “When Just Katherine went at the same time as Manny was making his move, it forced her quite wide which was definitely going to take some energy out of her in the late stages and I thought she might get caught by quite a nice filly in her own right – Julia Shining. Both fillies ran really well down to the wire, we were just lucky we got our head down first.”
Brown added Raging Sea is slated to continue racing as a 4-year-old.
“We’ll probably take her down south and map out a campaign for next year,” Brown said. “She has no trouble getting the mile and an eighth. She can even get a mile and a quarter, if needed. She’s a quite a nice filly and hopefully we have a complete year with her next year.”
Raging Sea is a half-sister to the multiple stakes-placed Welcoming with her third dam being the multiple graded stakes-winning Reine-de-Course mare Weekend Surprise, who produced Hall of Famer and breed-shaping stallion A.P. Indy. Raging Sea banked $110,000 in victory, boosting her total purse earnings to $464,628 through a record of 7-3-1-1. She returned $6.30 on a $2 win wager.
The late-running Julia Shining, who won the Grade 2 Demoiselle here last year, posted her best result since finishing third to Defining Purpose in the Grade 1 Ashland in April at Keeneland. Carmouche said he is hopeful this effort is a step forward for the full-sister to dual Champion Malathaat.
“She put herself closer than what I thought and she ran good,” said Carmouche. “She had every right to pass that horse, she just stayed next to her. That’s what happens when you don’t win so often, you get used to running second, third. Hopefully, with this effort, we can go in the right direction.”
Live racing resumes Sunday at the Big A with a nine-race card. First post is 12:20 p.m. Eastern.