MILTON, September 3, 2022 - “I was in a bad spot, her speed bailed me out big time,” said a relieved Bob McClure of Warrawee Xenia who overcame an overland trip with her impressive speed to haul down favourite Adare Castle in the second of two $80,368 Simcoe Stakes divisions for three-year-old trotting fillies, part of the star studded program Saturday at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
It was Baby Longstocking and Doug McNair taking early command in that split and they headed the fillies by the tepid first quarter of :28.4. Adare Castle, who came into tonight’s contest riding a four race winning streak, came out from second and took control well before the leisurely half of :58.3 for James MacDonald.
Adare Castle hit the third marker in 1:27 and down the stretch she had a pair of challengers in Warrawee Xenia and Baby Longstocking. She managed to hold off the latter but not the former who got by late to hit the wire first in 1:54.1. Adare Castle held for second with Baby Longstocking getting a well earned third.
A daughter of Walner, Warrawee Xenia now has eight wins and a second in 11 starts this year for Mark Steacy who shares the training duties with son Shawn. Mark co-owns with David McDonald, Dale Larson and Diane Bertrand. They all were a bit apprehensive coming into this evening’s contest as the filly had broken stride in her last two races including the coveted Hambletonian Oaks final. That was especially hard to take after she had very impressively won her elimination with a final quarter of :26.4.
“You have to be a little careful to get her back on the right track and it worked out good tonight. She is extremely fast for a piece. She gets over the ground so easy. She just seems to have a gear a lot of them don’t,” McClure said.
“We can breathe for a week,” laughed Mark Steacy. “She’s a lot of pressure this horse when you race her. She’s probably as fast as any trotting filly out there when she behaves. Over the winter she got sound, she grew up, she filled out. We took our time and Bob’s done a fantastic job, he knows when he can use her and when he can’t.
“She’s got such a great gait that you don’t realize that she’s going that fast but she is. That kind of horse is pretty special. We’ll probably take her to Kentucky (the filly Futurity), she’s got a couple weeks down there and then back here for the Breeders Crown.”
Bred by Dr. Mike Wilson’s Warrawee Farm, Xenia now has over $135,000 in earnings.
In the first division it was royally bred Monkey Queen, another filly who suffered a miscue in a recent start, who got the job done. In that division Saundra left from post six and was quick to the top for Sylvain Filion and they hit the opening quarter in :28.2.
Monkey Queen was pulled from second by Yannick Gingras and that pair were comfortably on top at the :57.1 half. Samosa was charging hard on the outside and was at the leader’s wheel at the 1:25.3 three-quarters but tired in the stretch.
Monkey Queen held off two other challengers to win in 1:53.1. Saundra took second with Mischievous Rose third. Ilbeneedinstritches was fourth with Angelonia taking the final cheque.
Unraced last year at two, Monkey Queen was recording just her sixth lifetime start tonight and her first north of the border. She now has three wins and two seconds on her card with just over $60,000 in earnings for owners Lindy Farms, Black Horse Racing and David Anderson. She is trained by Domenico Cecere.
“She’s so game, she goes out there and she knows what her job is about. She’s not the soundest filly there is but in the race she was perfect. It was a pretty good mile tonight, I’m really proud of her,” Gingras explained after the race.
The Quebec native was asked if the fact that the filly only has a half dozen starts will make her fresher for the late season action.
“The more racing (she has) is going to be better for her because during the week they can’t do a whole lot with her. The more she races the better shape she’s going to get in. I don’t know if she can go with the best, best ones but she has never disappointed yet,” he praised.
In her most recent start, Monkey Queen won by 24 lengths in an overnight at The Red Mile in 1:53.2. Gingras noted that the last time he won by such an open margin was with another trotting mare, the great Mission Brief, who won at the same racetrack by 16 lengths as a rookie.
Bred by Order By Stable of Sweden, Monkey Queen is a full sister to $2.7 million winner Gimpanzee and Iteration ($780,818). She sold for $450,000 at the 2020 Lexington Select Sale. Last year her full sister, Mandrill, was knocked down for $750,000.
Heather MacKay for Woodbine Communications