Calm, serene, tranquil. All adjectives that accurately describe Christophe Clement’s barn and the area surrounding it in the middle of the “Payson Park” corner just a few steps away from the Fifth Avenue gap on the Oklahoma track. In between Shug McGaughey and Bill Mott, it’s a good life.
With only one barn at Saratoga, Clement still has many runners stabled at Belmont. He splits his time between the two tracks this time of year.
“Every Monday after the races, I go to Belmont,” he said “I drive back on Wednesdays in order to be here on time for my runners. I do the exact opposite during the Belmont meet. From May 1 to November, that’s my routine. “
The Clement stable had a superb finish to the Belmont meeting. Disco Partner won the Grade 2 Jaipur Stakes Belmont Stakes Day and the barn won 15 races in the last five weeks of the meet thereafter.
“We were slow to start but finished very well,” Clement said. “We ran a lot of horses from June 15 to July 15, which we are paying for now because I have a little bit of a lack of horses to run. They should be back running in August. I finished second in the standings, which by number of horses I think is good and I think our percentage did well, so I was delighted with that. Hopefully we’ll have plenty of runners for the second half of the meet.”
Clement took a ride with The Special’s Ben Gowans from his barn over to the paddock after turf works Friday morning and chatted about his runners. (Editor’s note: Originally published in the July 28 issue of The Saratoga Special)
Disco Partner: Now a 6-year-old, the Generazio homebred won the Jaipur for second year in a row and in doing so went over $1 million in earnings. He was fifth in the Forbidden Apple Stakes at 1-mile July 14. “We have the Troy (Aug. 5) in mind. It’s coming back a little bit quick at three weeks but he’s doing well. I’m not sure we’ll work him back, I might just train him to the race. He’s dead fit, he looks great. He’s a top sprinter. I tried to stretch him last time which was a mistake. We live and learn and we go back sprinting.”
Pure Sensation: The other fast, gray Generazio homebred. The 7-year-old is winless in three starts this year. He finished third behind his stablemate in the Jaipur and then was third again in the Grade 3 Parx Dash. “Complicated horse, with his feet and soundness issues. When he’s right, he’s top class. He ran a good race when he was third in the Jaipur this year. He finished third and ran below form the other day at Parx. He came back very sore in both front feet. We worked on that. If he’s sound enough, we’ll run in the Troy. If he’s not sound enough, we’ll give him enough time and go to the next one.”
Therapist: Bred by Clement and Oak Bluff Stables, he’s a graduate of the 2016 Fasig-Tipton New York-bred Saratoga Yearling Sale. The son of Freud was undefeated in three starts as a 2-year-old and won two stakes. He won two again this year and took the New York Stallion Series Stakes at Belmont last month. “He ran very well last time out. Irad rides him great. We kept him eligible for the Hall Of Fame coming up, but unless the Hall Of Fame falls apart, the plan is to run him in the New York-bred stakes because it’s obviously an easier spot and it’s a lot of money, you know?”
Lull: The Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider homebred has only run twice this year. She won the Grade 3 Honey Fox at Gulfstream Park in March and was third in the Grade 1 Just A Game on Belmont Stakes Day. She was entered to run in Monday’s Caress Stakes but because of the wet turf conditions was rerouted to Woodbine this weekend. “Unfortunately, we had a crazy amount of rain. I don’t think she can handle softer turf. It was not soft, it was very soft that day. She will run in the Royal North in Canada on Sunday. It’s a tough race and a lot of weight, 125. She’s training great, she looks great, and I’m excited to see her run.”
Factorofwon: Everett Dobson’s Cheyenne Stable bought this 3-year-old filly for $400,000 at Fasig-Tipton’s horses of racing age sale earlier this month. She won the Black Pearl Stakes at Santa Anita in May and then was second in the Stormy Blues Stakes at Laurel Park two days before she was sold. She will run first time for Clement in Monday’s Coronation Cup Stakes. “She came in right after the sale. We bought her and she came the next day. Very exciting, we put her in the stakes coming up on Monday. I wouldn’t like the ground to be too soft because she looks like a very speedy filly that likes top of the ground. She’s trained well. She’s done everything right since she’s come to us. Her form is good. It’s a very open stakes. I looked at it briefly, four or five can win it.”
White Flag: Robert Evans’ homebred 4-year-old is a graduate of Fasig-Tipton’s 2014 Kentucky November mixed sale. He won the Allied Forces Stakes at Belmont last fall and won an allowance-optional at Belmont earlier this month in his second start of the year. “White Flag is possible for the Lure Stakes here if we get better weather. He hates soft. Most of War Front’s that I’ve trained, they’re not the type of horses for softer turf, they do much better on faster ground. Otherwise, I’ll train him for the Play The King, which is a Grade 2 going seven-eighths at Woodbine.”
Blacktype: French-bred gelding won the Grade 2 Knickerbocker for Jump Sucker Stables in October. The 7-year-old was flat in his first two starts this year but won an allowance optional at Belmont July 5. “I thought he worked very well a few days ago. He’s eligible for the Lure as well. Blacktype is the exact opposite of White Flag, the softer the better. He ran very well the other day at Belmont. Very honest kind of a horse. He always tries, he’s been a fun horse.”
Chipolata: French-bred filly was stakes-placed this year in her native country before being sent to Clement to run in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks. “My brother (Nicolas) called me and told me that there was a small filly, not much to look at but a great turn of foot. She had to be bought for America, which we did. The original owners stayed in for one-third, West Point bought two-thirds. When she came in, I was a little bit disappointed because she’s very small and in the stall she’s just a horse. I called my brother to tell him what I thought, and he told me to wait until she moved on the track. Which we did. She’s actually a remarkable mover, she’s very athletic. She ran a great race. She came from out of it, finished very well. She’s Grade 1-placed now. Looking back at it, it’s a very good buy. I told my brother to find me some more. Originally, I wanted to bring her back in September. She’s been jogging three weeks, tomorrow will be her last day jogging since the Oaks. She’s at Belmont, we’ll start galloping on Sunday and decide after that. I think she’s going to come back and run much quicker than expected, which is very good news.”
Sea Foam: Clement signed the ticket at the 2008 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling sale for this colt’s dam, Strike It Rich. She won the Grade 3 Boiling Springs on turf for the trainer and Waterville Lake Stable. This Medaglia d’Oro colt prefers dirt and gave Clement a rare win at Finger Lakes in the New York Derby last time. When was the last time Clement won a race at Finger Lakes? “Twenty years ago I think I did. I don’t go to Finger Lakes very often. He came back in great shape and has been jogging since the race. We will start galloping him next week, give him two works, and then go for the Albany. His deal is to go long on dirt, it’s great. I don’t have enough of them. He was my first stakes winner going long on dirt since Tonalist so it’s a lot of fun for me. I love to train that kind of horse.”
Up The Ante: Castleton Lyons’ homebred 3-year-old colt won the Manila Stakes at Belmont July 4 but hasn’t worked since. “Maybe the Hall Of Fame. A little bit of a question mark on his feet lately. As long as he’s sound enough we’ll try to run him in the Hall Of Fame. He’s going to work tomorrow and we’ll decide after that.”
Egyptian Storm: Robert Evans and West Point Thoroughbreds bought this Pioneerof The Nile filly for $230,000 as a yearling last year. She’s worth a lot more now. The half-sister to Triple Crown winner Justify shows four works on the tab for Clement. “She’s done very well. She’s a beautiful filly. She needs some time, we have to be careful. Because she’s so forward and been training well, you could rush her a bit quicker than what she wants mentally. She needs to slow down a little bit. The idea would be to have her ready to run sometime in September or October at Belmont. I don’t think she’ll run in Saratoga, which is perfectly OK. I don’t want to rush her, just want her to come along.”
Miss Technicality: John McCormack bred this 2-year-old filly who he owns in partnership with Namcook Stables. The daughter of Gio Ponti won on debut July 6 at Belmont in a 6-furlong maiden special on turf. “She was an impressive winner at Belmont. She belongs to a very good friend of mine who is in partnership with a very good friend of mine. Came out of the race in very good shape, she’s shipping to Saratoga today. Most probably, we’ll train her to go in the stakes next time. The P.G. Johnson would be one of the choices, you have a race at Woodbine, you also have a race at Kentucky Downs. I will be very disappointed if she does not turn out to be a stakes horse.”
Stormy Victoria: Late running French-bred mare has been very consistent in 17 starts over the past few years for Clement. She won the South Beach Stakes at Gulfstream in January. “She worked a few days ago in front of me at Belmont. A touch flat, I’d like her work to be a bit better before we run her. Nothing wrong, just give her a bit more time, that’s all. She’s been a very nice mare, belongs to a great group of people, a lot of fun to train for. She’s been a great success, it’s her last year so it would be nice to win one more race.”
Big Rock: New Phoenix Stable owns the 6-year-old who is 3-for-4 at Saratoga. His only defeat was a third in last year’s Lucky Coin Stakes. “He’s running in the three-other-than here next week. He’s doing well. He’s another horse who is much better on firmer turf. It’s a little bit ambitious because he’s been a little below form this year. He loves Saratoga, 5 1/2 furlongs, Javier Castellano, let’s go.”
Brooke Marie: 2-year-old Lemon Drop Kid filly was bought by Badgers Racing last year. She had her first gate work Sunday, a half-mile in :49.29. “She was an astute buy by Brad Weisbord and Liz Crow. She belongs to a very nice guy. She’s running first time out in a few weeks. She’s trained well, she’ll be okay.”
Sister Sunday: Bach Stables’ 3-year-old filly won well in a maiden special at Tampa in March and then was third in a stakes at Gulfstream. “She’s nice. I like her, I’ve always liked her. She ran a very good race at Tampa. She came back and finished third in the stakes, she bled a little bit that day at Gulfstream. Gave her some time off, she’s on the way back. She should be two weeks away from a race.”
Report on Clement’s four turf workers Friday: “I worked a horse called Have At It. He’s a nice horse who won the a-other-than impressively at Belmont. He’s possible for the Hall Of Fame. We worked a nice filly called Palinodie. She’s been a nice staying filly. We might run her in the Waya. We worked a new German filly called Gondora, G-o-n-d-o-r-a. She belongs to Team Valor. She’ll run in probably the next two weeks up here. Last but not least is a 2-year-old called Malthael. By Noble Mission. A half-brother to A.P. Indian that we like that will run in the coming two weeks in Saratoga. Nice horse.”