Royally bred mare Giants Play (4m Giant’s Causeway x Playful Act, by Sadler’s Wells) scored a valuable win in the Grade II New York Stakes at Belmont on the weekend.
A maiden winner in the UK last year, the Newsells Park Stud owned mare has been on the improve since transferring to the US stable of Christophe Clement, placing in Graded races at her last few runs.
Sent to the lead by Rajiv Maragh in this mile and a quarter assignment on turf, Giants Play pulled out enough in the run home to win by a head, taking her overall record to two wins and seven placings from 11 starts.
A gear change was in part credited with the mare’s improved performance.
“She was rank last time and was fighting too much,” Christophe Clement explained.
“This time we ran her with a net [over her nose], put her on the lead, and she was a lot more relaxed. She ran a very game race. The net sits on their nostrils and, for some, it relaxes them.”
Clemente also gave credit to jockey Rajiv Maragh.
“Rajiv [Maragh] gave her a great ride,” Clement said.
“She’s very well bred, so to win a graded stakes was a goal this year. Where do we go next? I don’t have a clue. It’s an amazing pedigree, and she’s obviously a very valuable mare.”
An $850,000 purchase from the 2008 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Giants Play is the first stakes-winner for Group I winner Playful Act, who set a world record price for a broodmare when bought by John Ferguson for $10.5 million at the 2007 Keeneland November Sale.
Playful Act is a sibling to six other stakes-winners including recent Royal Ascot Grade II winner Nathaniel.
Giants Play is the 96th stakes-winner worldwide for champion sire Giant’s Causeway.