Woodbine: Ontario Matron
ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Reigning Canadian champion older female Strut the Course added another feather to her cap July 5 when she took the Grade 2 Dance Smartly Stakes on grass. She goes back to the Polytrack on Saturday at Woodbine in the $150,000 Ontario Matron, a Grade 3 stakes at 1 1/16 miles.
Strut the Course was blocked behind rivals in the stretch before ending up fifth when returning from a sixmonth layoff May 23 in the Grade 2 Nassau Stakes. Trip handicappers were all over her when she resurfaced July 5 in the nine-furlong Dance Smartly, which she won by a head at 3-1 after trying to lay in through the stretch.
“She came out of the race really good,” trainer Barb Minshall said. “She’s getting better all the time. She handles the Polytrack really well, so I thought I’d put her in here. She’s training great.”
Strut the Course romped in back-to-back Polytrack stakes last fall, most notably the Grade 3 Maple Leaf.
Minshall also has a contender in Saturday’s supporting feature, Hollywood Hideaway, who is among eight 2-year-olds in the $125,000 Colin Stakes.
Hollywood Hideaway captured his debut by disqualification, leading the way on grass before falling a head short in the six-furlong Victoria Stakes here June 20.
“I’ve always liked him,” Minshall said. “He trains real well on the Polytrack. He’s a very rateable horse.”
The Zip Zip Man, a Chicago shipper trained by Mike Stidham, could be favored in the six-furlong Colin off a fast debut score over Arlington’s Polytrack. His 83 Beyer Speed Figure from that maiden special weight dash is the sixthhighest earned by a 2-year-old on the continent this year.
Gary Stevens rode Catch a Flight to this win May 30 in the Californian but felt he moved too soon June 27 in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita.