11/02/2007 12:00AM

Clement beginning his assault

EmailARCADIA, Calif. - The first wave of East Coast shippers arrived just in time for closing day of the Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita.

Naissance Royale and Meribel were en route Friday from New York, graded stakes winners trained by Christophe Clement who figure prominently in the Grade 2 Las Palmas Handicap Sunday at Santa Anita.

Thirteen fillies and mares entered the mile turf race, and while the big field and a possible slow pace might create problems, it will be even tougher at Hollywood Park, which opens Wednesday. One of the meet highlights is the Grade 1, $500,000 Matriarch for female turf milers Nov. 25.

Clement will ship Grade 1 winner Vacare for the Matriarch.

Grade 2 winner Naissance Royale is the 118-pound topweight on Sunday. She is running in the Las Palmas because she was scratched from the $100,000 Revidere Stakes on Oct. 25 at Monmouth Park, which was moved off the turf to a sloppy main track.

The Las Palmas will be the second California start for Naissance Royale, runner-up last fall in the Grade 2 Dahlia at Hollywood. And she will be Clement's first California starter since Rutherienne and In Summation won Grade 1 stakes at Del Mar.

"I've always been lucky in California," Clement said.

It is an understatement. The past year, Clement is 8 for 18 in California, with seven stakes. The blitz will continue. Clement said Naissance Royale or Meribel will stay for the Hollywood meet with Vacare. Sprinters In Summation and Quietly Mine also will ship for Hollywood stakes.

Naissance Royale's jockey, Garrett Gomez, also has been hot. Gomez won with 8 of his first 11 Oak Tree mounts since returning from the East Coast last Sunday. The trouble for Naissance Royale is pace.

Although Sweet Belle, Strong Faith, and Shermeen have tactical speed, none is a committed front-runner. The fractions may be slow, which also would compromise Black Mamba. Third in the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon, Black Mamba drops in class for Sunday.

Black Mamba's jockey, Tyler Baze, has won 24 main-track races at Oak Tree; he was 2 for 40 on turf through Thursday.