01/01/2011 6:32PM

Stormy Publisher just hangs on in Minaret

John Duca/ Tom Cooley
Stormy Publisher, on the rail, keeps her nose in front to the wire in the Minaret at Tampa Bay Downs.

OLDSMAR, Fla. - Stormy Publisher kept her U.S. record perfect here Saturday when she led from start to finish to post a nose victory in the $50,000 Minaret Stakes before 3,443 fans at Tampa Bay Downs.

Ridden by Frederic Leclud, Stormy Publisher broke on top in the field of 12 fillies and mares, and set fractions of 22.50 and 45.54 while pressured to midstrech by North Rodeo. Stormy Publisher had just enough left to turn back late charges from favored My Irish Girl and Choragus.

My Irish Girl, who was forced to race wide to the stretch, rallied down the middle of the track through the final furlong but had her rider, Huber Villa-Gomez, drop his whip in the final furlong and came up short in the photo for win.

Choragus, who was far back early, closed with a rush along the outside and finished just back of My Irish Girl, wih North Rodeo fourth.

The win was the second stakes victory in this country for the Stormy Publisher, an Argentine import trained by Christophe Clement. She won the Glowing Honor Stakes going six furlongs on the turf at Belmont last October. She returned $7.60 on Saturday while covering the six furlongs over a fast strip in 1:10.71