TORONTO, July 24, 2022 – Wakanaka (IRE), trained by Bill Mott, looked right at home on the E.P. Taylor Turf Course, taking all the spoils in the $204,400 Grade 2 Dance Smartly Stakes, Sunday at Woodbine.
It was another Irish-bred, Fev Rover, who zipped up the rail to seize control of the 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, as Inthewinnerscircle was settled into second, one length off the leader through an opening split of :23.65 over firm going. Seasons was positioned in third, a head in front of Wakanaka.
Fev Rover was a half-length on top after a half in :47.19, followed by Inthewinnerscircle, Seasons, Wakanaka, Munnyfor Ro and Youens (Keyflower (FR) and Lady Speightspeare were scratched).
In front by just a head after three-quarters in 1:10.26, Fev Rover braced for the challenge of a surging Wakanaka, who was making up ground quickly to her outside.
One length clear at the stretch call, Wakanaka, making her first appearance at Woodbine, went on to record a 1 ¾-length victory in a time of 1:39.46. Fev Rover finished second, a head in front of Munnyfor Ro. Seasons was fourth. A claim of foul by the rider of Fev Rover was disallowed.
“Keeping her forward and turning for home, she saw the daylight and just ran off,” said Hernandez, one race after winning the Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser with Moira. “She just looked a little bit at the grandstand. We've got a long stretch here and when horses come here new, they like to look at the grandstand too much. I just try to keep their attention on the race.”
With the win, Wakanaka, owned by Team Valor International and Gary Barber, improved her record to 7-4-1 from 13 starts. The 4-year-old daughter of Power (GB) and Storyline (IRE) was bred by Mrs. Jean Brennan.
She paid $4.60, $2.70 and $2.10, combining with Fev Rover ($3, $2.30) for a $12.20 exactor. Munnyfor Ro ($2.40) rounded out a $32.80 triactor, while a $1 superfecta with Seasons returned $30.80.
The Dance Smartly is the first race of the lucrative Ladies of the Lawn Series.
Launched in 2019, this year’s series offers a $250,000 bonus to the owner of the horse that wins all three races in the series. If a horse doesn’t sweep the series, a $50,000 bonus will be presented to the connections of the horse that accumulates the most points throughout the trio of races.
The second and third legs of the Ladies of the Lawn Series are the Grade 2 Canadian Stakes ($200,000), scheduled for Sunday, August 21, and the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes ($750,000), slated for Saturday, October 8.
TORONTO, July 24, 2022 – Hazelbrook, the second longest shot on the tote board, earned her first stakes victory in taking Sunday’s Grade 3 $156,900 Hendrie Stakes, a 6 ½-furlong Tapeta sprint for filles and mares, three-year-olds and up, at Woodbine.
Trained by Lorne Richards for owner True North Stable, Hazelbrook, a four-year-old daughter of Bayern-Zaphia, was making her second stakes appearance and sixth career start, all coming at Woodbine.
There was an early scramble for the lead as Lorena struck front quickly, but soon found herself in third spot as Artie’s Princess and Dynasty of Her Own settled into first and second, respectively, through an opening quarter timed in :22.22, as Jason Hoyte, aboard Hazelbrook, positioned his 26-1 filly sixth in the field of seven.
Dynasty of Her Own put a head in front of Artie’s Princess after a half in :44.23, with Amalfi Coast in third and Hazelbrook moving up one spot into fifth as the real running commenced.
As the field rounded the turn for home, even-money choice and multiple graded stakes winner Boardroom looked for room along the inside, as Amalfi Coast and Hazelbrook arrived on the scene, setting up a thrilling late-stretch duel to the wire.
Hazelbrook went on to notch a neck win over a game Amalfi Coast, with La Libertee, supplemented to the race, rallying to finish third. Boardroom was fourth.
The final time was 1:15.68.
“I began with her as a two-year old when l was galloping for Lorne at that time,” said Hoyte. “She's a very smart horse. Every start she's been improving and improving, but today she really ran her heart out. She was really nice today. My boss and I talked this morning and he told me to try and get her going there. She broke smart, I chased her for like two strides, and then I saw everyone was committed to the outside, so I just took a little hold, and it was easy to get out, and it was really nice.”
Bred in Kentucky by Mike Bilbrey, Hazelbrook came into the Hendrie off a half-length triumph at six panels over the Woodbine Tapeta on June 25. With today’s win, the bay, who was eighth in last September’s Duchess Stakes, is now 4-0-1 from six starts.
She paid $54.10 for the win.