By Ryan Martin
ELMONT, N.Y. – A Chad Brown exacta kicked off the stakes action for the 2019 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival with Cambier Parc running down stablemate Newspaperofrecord in the Grade 3, $200,000 Wonder Again on Thursday at Belmont Park.
Owned by Larry Best’s OXO Equine, Cambier Parc settled along the rail in third position while Newspaperofrecord set fractions of 23.96 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and the half-mile in 48.58 under jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr.
Jose Ortiz angled Cambier Parc to the outside at the top of the stretch and took aim at her stablemate, who was under a drive. With an impressive turn-of-foot, Cambier Parc took command in the final furlong to win by 1 ¼ lengths.
Kelsey’s Cross finished four lengths behind Newspaperofrecord in third while Chocolate Kisses and Blonde Moment completed the order of finish. Cambier Parc covered nine furlongs over a firm inner turf course in 1:46.34.
Ortiz said he was pleased with the trip aboard Cambier Parc.
“She broke good and relaxed nicely. Nobody else could keep up by the quarter pole and I got an easy, perfect trip,” Ortiz said. “At the top of the stretch, I didn’t know if I was going to get there because Newspaperofrecord is a really good filly, but when I saw that she didn’t get away from me, I thought I had a shot passing the eighth pole. In the last eighth of a mile, my filly was just better.”
The Wonder Again was a second graded stakes victory for Cambier Parc, who won the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride on March 2 at Gulfstream Park.
The well-bred daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, out of 2007 Canadian Horse of the Year and Canadian Hall of Famer Sealy Hill, arrived at the Wonder Again from a fourth-place effort in the Grade 3 Edgewood at Churchill Downs.
Brown said he expected an improved performance from Cambier Parc.
“I’m not surprised Cambier Parc ran this well. That’s why we had her in the race,” said Brown, who scored his eighth stakes victory on the meet with Cambier Parc. “She’s a much better horse on firm ground. That race at Churchill didn’t do her any justice. She has the bloodlines to do it. Her mother was second in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf. As you saw today, she’s an up-and-comer in this division.”
Newspaperofrecord, who was undefeated as a 2-year-old including a victory in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, has finished second in both sophomore starts.
Brown said that a bigger field could be in Newspaperofrecord’s favor in the Grade 1, $750,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational on July 6, which is the first leg of the newly minted Turf Tiara which also includes the $750,000 Saratoga Oaks on August 5 and the $750,000 Jockey Club Oaks on September 7.
“Newspaperofrecord was disappointing. She couldn’t stay a mile and an eighth today. I thought Irad [Ortiz, Jr.] did all right today,” Brown said. “She’s always going to be a horse that tugs along on the front end. I thought the fractions were fair though. I have to believe the turf was drying out well. I didn’t see any excuse for the trip she got, or the fractions. The only thing I would say about her is what I’d like to see next time against a bigger field if we go on to the Belmont Oaks. I would like to see her have someone to follow deeper into the stretch.”
Cambier Parc gave Brown his third victory in the Wonder Again after winning previous editions with New Money Honey  and Lady Eli , both of which won the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf the prior year.
Purchased for $1.25 million from the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2017, Cambier Parc was bred in Kentucky by Bonne Chance Farm. Sent off as the 5-1 second choice, Cambier Parc paid $12.40 for a $2 win wager and elevated her career earnings to $242,460.
The Wonder Again is named in honor of the two-time Grade 1 winning millionaire whose career highlights include winning the Diana Handicap at Saratoga and the Garden City (now called the Belmont Oaks Invitational) at Belmont Park. Trained by Jimmy Toner and owned by Phillips Racing Partnership, Bobby Flay and Richard Santulli, the daughter of Silver Hawk was third in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Lone Star in 2004 and retired with $1,439,602 in career earnings.