TORONTO, December 2, 2023 – Frac Dancer hung on gamely to take the co-featured $150,000 Clarendon Stakes, on Saturday at Woodbine.
Sent off as the 3-1 second choice in the race for Ontario-bred or Ontario-sired 2-year-olds, Frac Dancer, with Sahin Civaci aboard, broke sharply and was immediately confronted on the front end by Competitive Touch, as the trio of Cooler Man, Meko Makee, and 9-5 choice Midnight Mascot took position in the second flight through an opening quarter reached in :22.58.
The spirited tussle between Frac Dancer and Competitive Touch carried on after a half in :45.31 as the duo looked to separate themselves from their pursuers heading into the turn for home. Frac Dancer gained the upper hand coming off the turn and powered past Competitive Touch, as Midnight Mascot found daylight and attempted to track down his rival.
Ahead by a half-length at the stretch call, Frac Dancer dug in along the rail and was able to fend off Midnight Mascot by a neck for his second win in as many starts. Gun Court rallied to best Garofoli by a neck for third.
Competitive Touch, Meko Makee, and Cooler Man rounded out the order of finish.
The final time was 1:10.96.
Civaci, who won last year’s race with Armstrong, was impressed by the rookie’s gumption down the lane.
“There were a lot of speed horses, so that was one concern. We were just going to pop out of the gate and play the break and see where we are. We popped out very well. I kept him three (paths) off the rail just to keep him not too eager. Down the lane, when I asked him, he kicked on really well.”
A son of Frac Daddy-Dancing On Fire, bred and owned by Phoenix Racing, Frac Dancer, at 9-1, won his debut, taking a 5 ½-furlong Tapeta race in front-running fashion on October 15 at Woodbine.
Trained by Mike De Paulo, the roan colt returned $8.10 for the Clarendon win.
Shamans Girl made an impressive first impression in the $150,000 Shady Well Stakes, on Saturday at Woodbine.
The Harold Ladouceur trainee, supplemented to the six-furlong race for Ontario-bred or Ontario-sired 2-year-old fillies, sat last of six early as even-money choice Onella grabbed the lead shortly after the break and found herself one length ahead of her closest pursuer, Master Aragorn, through an opening quarter clocked in a brisk :22.27.
Onella, an impressive winner in her career bow on October 14, continued to show the way through a half in :45.70, while Ryan Munger, aboard Shamans Girl, remained unhurried at the back of the pack.
Swinging off the turn for home, Onella was confronted by the duo of Vandoo and Little Teddy, while Shamans Girl began to roll to the outside and hit her best stride mid-way down the lane.
The daughter of Shaman Ghost-Ginger Brew wore down her rivals in late stretch and went on to notch a 3 ½-length triumph in 1:11.63. Vandoo finished a half-length ahead of Little Teddy for second. Red Eleanor, Onella, and Master Aragorn completed the order of finish.
Munger, enjoying a productive first year riding at Woodbine, applauded his filly’s come-from-behind score.
“She’s a quality, quality filly, but she is still very green,” said the South African-born rider, of the Stronach Stables homebred. “I thought there are a lot of experienced fillies that are probably going to go speed, these 2-year-olds that can go very good in the beginning. I just followed them around and at about the three-eighths pole, she just started to pick them off one by one, and I angled her clear, and she was a pretty simple ride from there. She is just a quality, classy filly, and she behaved like that today. Quality seemed to prevail here, and she’s won a good race.”
Ladouceur, closing in on 100 career wins, was equally effusive in his praise of Shamans Girl.
“First of all, I want to thank Mr. Frank Stronach for giving us the opportunity to train such a beautiful animal. It was exciting all year with her. We had setbacks. We’re just so proud of her today. It wasn’t a surprise, to tell you the truth. I’m just so proud of her.”
Shamans Girl paid $49.30 for the win. Kin’s Concerto was scratched.
Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms