08/18/2005 11:00PM

Duel sets up Naissance Royale

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Naissance Royale (left) wins Friday's Grade 2, Lake Placid Stakes by 1 3/4 lengths at Saratoga.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Naissance Royale took advantage of a contested pace between the two favorites and then showed some grit in the stretch to prevail by a head over My Typhoon in Friday's Grade 2, $150,000 at Saratoga.

My Typhoon, the 8-5 favorite, was game in defeat, holding second by 1 3/4 lengths over Victory Lap after pressing Ready's Gal through hot early fractions.

Naissance Royale, an Irish-bred daughter of Giant's Causeway, was making her first start in this country after running competitively in France. She had shown bad gate habits in France, which is why trainer Christophe Clement schooled her in the gate several times before this race.

Ready's Gal, under John Velazquez, and My Typhoon, under Jerry Bailey, were heads apart through fractions of 22.98 seconds, 46.65, and 1:10.32. Edgar Prado had Naissance Royale about two lengths off the early pace while saving ground along the rail.

When Ready's Gal gave way on the far turn, Prado moved Naissance Royale to take on My Typhoon. The two hooked up in upper stretch, and Naissance Royale prevailed despite the best efforts of My Typhoon.

Owned by Monceaux Stable, Naissance Royale covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.14 over the firm Mellon Turf Course and returned $11.20.

"She showed more speed than expected coming out of the gate," Clement said. "The fillies on the lead softened up the pace enough for us to get there."

Bailey put My Typhoon right off the flank of Ready's Gal, but said he didn't want to go as fast as the two did early.

"We went a little faster than I really wanted to go," Bailey said. "Once I made my bed, I had to lay in it. She swapped her leads as she was trying to fight back, which certainly didn't help her cause, but still she never gave up."