Casual Smile's a perfect match for Monmouth
W.S. Farish's homebred Casual Smile couldn't win in eight starts at various venues in England and the U.S., but she's unstoppable at Monmouth. After breaking her maiden and sailing through her entry-level allowance condition at the Jersey Shore, the Chad Brown filly made it a hat trick in Sunday's $162,000 Matchmaker (G3). Overshadowed by her 5-2 stablemate Testa Rossi, and even more so by even-money favorite I'm Already Sexy, Casual Smile outkicked them both in the stretch.
A daughter of two Epsom classic winners in the great Sea the Stars and Casual Look (whose only other win came in a maiden), Casual Smile began her career "across the pond" with Andrew Balding. Her most memorable effort was a close second in a Newmarket maiden to Taghrooda, who went on to glory in last year's Oaks (G1) and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (G1). Casual Smile was actually the 15-8 favorite that day, and Taghrooda overlooked at 20-1. Funny how that worked out.
It would be great to say that formline meant something, but considering Casual Smile's overall record of futility over there, it didn't turn out to be a meaningful pointer for her. Subsequently seventh in her reappearance in the 2014 Lingfield Oaks Trial and third when dropped back into maiden company, she was the beaten favorite both times.
Casual Smile wasn't seen again until resurfacing with Brown early this season. Although she was running creditably in pretty decent maiden company, it took a switch to Monmouth for her to come alive.
Under Abel Castellano Jr., the chestnut was anchored near the rear through a sedate early pace of :24.49, :48.14 and 1:11.57 on the firm turf. I'm Already Sexy and Testa Rossi took closer order in tandem, and the two 123-pound highweights appeared ready to slug it out entering the stretch. Meanwhile, Casual Smile had sensibly followed "Sexy" into contention, and the sparely-made filly squeezed through a small gap to shoot clear. Benefitting from a six-pound weight concession, she completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.12.
Testa Rossi would have preferred a stronger pace to set up her late kick, and her wide trip also counted against her, as she wound up three-quarters a length adrift of I'm Already Sexy in third.
As the Matchmaker name (and trophy) imply, the prizes for the top three finishers include a date with one of three WinStar stallions -- Paynter, Fed Biz, and Take Charge Indy.
Trophy photo courtesy of WinStar Farm Twitter feed.
Casual Smile photo courtesy of Taylor Ejdys/Equi-Photo.