FIRST SAMURAI’s Grade 2 winning daughter Plum Ali added a second stakes victory to her resume on Sunday when she went gate-to-wire in Aqueduct’s Winter Memories Stakes.
Plum Ali broke strongly from the gate and immediately shot to the lead to hold a length advantage on the field as she set a steady pace. Manny Franco asked her to step it up as they turned into the stretch and she quickly opened up a few lengths in response.
Franco did just enough to keep her focused on her work in the final sixteenth with the 3-year-old three quarters of a length in front at the line.
Trained by Christophe Clement for Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables, and Michael Caruso, the victory took her earnings to $676,000 with six top three finishes in 11 starts.
“After we broke like that, I wasn’t thinking to take back,” said Franco. “If they wanted to take the lead, they would have to go faster than me. In the second part of the race they let me slow down the pace and that was it. She handled it really well.She’s been really unlucky but today she deserved this. I’m really happy for Christophe and the owners.”
The Stone Farm bred chestnut is one of two runners out of Skipping, who is a half-sister to Grade 3 winner Meribel and stakes winner Knox. In all, Skipping’s seven winning siblings combined for 28 wins between them with Meribel responsible for seven and Knox for five.
The family also includes U.S. champion mare Informed Decision and Grade 2 winner Westheimer among others.
FIRST SAMURAI was again visited by Skipping the year after Plum Ali was born to produce a now-yearling filly who sold for $140,000 to Jonathan Thomas at this year’s Keeneland September Sale.
Skipping also visited MASTERY and has a weanling colt by that Claiborne stallion as well.