05/15/2013 2:50PM

York Racecourse: Liber Nauticus delivers as favorite in Musidora Stakes

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Liber Nauticus will have a perfect record when she starts in the English Oaks at Epsom Downs on May 31.

On Wednesday, Liber Nauticus made her first start of 2013 and her stakes debut in the $112,870 Musidora Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at York Racecourse, winning by 1 1/2 lengths in the Group 3 race over about 1 5/16 miles.

Ridden by Ryan Moore, Liber Nauticus (4-6) stalked the pace for the first mile, took the lead with a quarter-mile remaining, and held off 11-1 Romantic Settings, who finished second. Woodland Aria was third in the field of six.

Trained by Michael Stoute, Liber Nauticus, by Azamour, races for owner and breeder Ballymacoll Stud. The filly won her only start at 2, a maiden race at Goodwood last September.

In Wednesday’s Group 2, $152,000 Duke of York Stakes over a straightaway six furlongs, Society Rock (10-1) finished a head in front of Lethal Force (16-1) in his first start of 2013. Society Rock won the Group 1 Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock last September and is a candidate for the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.

◗ Baltic Baroness is bound for the French Oaks at Chantilly on June 16 after winning Wednesday’s $104,000 Prix Cleopatre at Saint-Cloud.

Trained by Andre Fabre, Baltic Baroness, a German-bred filly by Shamardal, won the Group 3 Prix Cleopatre over about 1 5/16 miles on turf by about a head over Santa Ponsa. Ridden by Maxime Guyon, Baltic Baroness was the 8-5 favorite in a field of eight. She was always near the front and held off a late threat from Santa Ponsa.

◗ The three-day Dante meeting at York ends Friday with a seven-race program highlighted by the $212,000 Yorkshire Cup over 1 3/4 miles.

The Group 2 Yorkshire Cup drew a strong field of nine, including Cavalryman, who won the Dubai Gold Cup on the Dubai World Cup program March 30; Royal Diamond, who won the Irish St. Leger last September; and Joshua Tree, who won the Canadian International at Woodbine last fall. Joshua Tree was trained by Marco Botti for that race and has since joined trainer Ed Dunlop’s stable.

◗ Lights of Heaven, a 6-year-old New Zealand-bred mare, can win her third consecutive stakes in Saturday’s $490,000 Doomben Cup over about 1 1/4 miles on turf against males at Doomben Racecourse in Australia. Trained by Peter Moody, who also trained the retired superstar sprinter Black Caviar, Lights of Heaven was 16th in the Melbourne Cup last November. A win in the Doomben Cup would be the first for Lights of Heaven in a Group 1 since the Schweppes Oaks in March 2011.