Strut the Course does just that in Canadian
In the process, the five-year-old mare gave trainer Barbara Minshall her second big win on the day after Stacked Deck upset the Bold Venture S. (Can-G3) earlier on the card. She also earned a guaranteed berth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) on October 31 at Keeneland via the Canadian being part of the “Win & You’re In” Challenge series.
Strut the Course bided her time in the back of the field as Bear’s Pride set the pace through splits of :24.91 and :49.37. Ticking Katie tracked in second just to the outside while flanked by Copper Kitten, and managed to gain a half-length advantage when rounding the turn.
Strut the Course was still well behind at this point but closing fast with the rest of the field. The whole bunch grouped up, with 5-2 favorite Hoop of Colour gaining the lead in midstretch while chased by Uchenna. Strut the Course burst forth from the pack and drove home to pull off the half-length score in a final time of 1:49.56 for about 1 1/8 miles over the yielding turf.
Button Down got up for second, while Hoop of Colour followed by another half-length.
Strut the Course was making just her fourth start this year on Sunday, having captured the Dance Smartly S. (Can-G2) and run second in the Ontario Matron S. (Can-G3) in her past pair. The bay daughter of Strut the Stage made her 2015 debut a close fifth in the Nassau S. (Can-G2) on May 23 at Woodbine.
In addition to the Canadian and Dance Smartly, Strut the Course owns three other stakes victories, including the Maple Leaf S. (Can-G3) and Classy ‘n Smart S. from last season.
Strut the Course photo courtesy of WEG/Michael Burns Photography
Jockey Luis Contreras – “I had a really nice trip. She broke really good. She settled really nice behind horses. At the head of the stretch I saw the opening on the inside and I went through and she responded really well for me.”
Trainer Barbara Minshall – “Maybe a little bit early (concerned she was further back than expected to be), but I just leave it up to the rider. He knows her well. She made a great run. Lots of traffic and I was just hoping that he could find a seam.
“I have to talk to the owner (about the Breeders’ Cup). I am not sure. The E.P. Taylor looks pretty tempting here, but we’ll talk about it. It has just been awesome. This filly has been so good from the get-go and John has been so great, letting me put her where we want to run her and give her the time we need. It’s just been great. She was coming into this race in awesome shape.”
Owner John Unger – “She is the gift that keeps on giving. It’s like winning the lottery over and over and over. I’ve never had a horse that actually even won anything more than an allowance race before I had this horse. It is just like a gift from heaven. It’s unbelievable.”