Debut runners in impress in Laurel maiden events
From a Maryland Jockey Club release
Kerri Szegi’s homebred Nauti Buoy was a determined winner of his career debut in Sunday’s fourth race, moving up from a stalking position to put steady pressure on Da Da Da Dude through the stretch and surging past the pacesetting favorite near the wire to get up by a neck in the $40,000 maiden special weight for 2-year-olds.
Sent off at 29-1 in a field of nine, Nauti Buoy ($61.20) ran 5 ½ furlongs over the Dahlia Turf Course in 1:03.07. Da Da Da Dude, fourth in his June 17 unveiling for owner-breeder Sagamore Farm, was 1 ¾ lengths ahead of Street Copper in third.
“We were high on him. He’s done everything right all along,” winning trainer Erin McClellan said. “I’ve trained other babies for [Szegi] and they’re always top notch and come to me with tons of class. He really trained spectacularly. We kind of kept him under wraps most mornings which is why he kind of surprised the betting public today, but we thought we had it in him. We were pretty sure.”
His performance may have earned Nauti Buoy, a gelded son of multiple graded stakes winner Mizzen Mast, an upcoming date with stakes company, McClellan said.
“We’ll have to quiet down from this one and decide. I’ll talk to Kerri,” she said. “We certainly think he has the ability to win stakes races as a 2-year-old so we’ll see how he comes out of it and think about it and try to make a good next choice.”
Quest Realty’s Madame X. ($26.80) had no anxious moments in her debut to open Sunday’s card, going gate to wire to romp by 9 ¼ lengths in 1:03.97 over the All Along layout. The daughter of Exchange Rate, trained by Susan Cooney, posted fractions of 22.91, 46.40 and 57.86 seconds and rolled down the lane under a hand ride from jockey Sheldon Russell. Encinitas, the heavy favorite, was never in contention and wound up sixth of seven.