Jim and Susan Hill's Solid Appeal, confidently handled by Jesse Campbell, took over from Coffee Clique in early stretch and powered her way to a two length score over Julie's Love in the Grade 2 $202,800 Dance Smartly Stakes Sunday at Woodbine on the Queen's Plate undercard.
Trained by Reade Baker, Solid Appeal thus remained unbeaten in three starts this year. The four-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Successful Appeal-Star of the Woods had come into the Dance Smartly off a similarly impressive tally in the one mile, turf Nassau Stakes, May 25 after opening the year in Keeneland with an allowance win on its synthetic track.
The Dance Smartly, at about one mile and one-eighth over the E.P. Taylor Turf Course, drew a crack field of 10 (after the morning scratch of Moonlit Beauty) and is named for one of Canada's greatest thoroughbreds. Dance Smartly was the first Canadian-bred to win a Breeders' Cup race (1991 Distaff), is the only filly to capture the Canadian Triple Crown and is a member of both the Canadian and U.S. Racing Halls of Fame.
Irish Mission, last year's champion three-year-old filly after winning the Oaks and Breeders' Stakes, along with a runner-up finish in the Queen's Plate, was sent postward the lukewarm 3-1 favourite but wound up a non-threatening seventh.
Coffee Clique and Luis Contreras went right to the front, clicking off early fractions of 25.14 and 48.78 over a ‘good' turf course, while being pressed by Hard Not to Like throughout. Meanwhile, Solid Appeal, never worse than third while lurking behind the leaders, was sent outside to challenge the pacesetters when the field straightened away for the stretch run and quickly took over.
Julie's Love made a determined bid between horses in deep stretch to get second, with No Explaining third and Coffee Clique fading to fourth. The final time was 1.46.19.
“Wow is all I have to say, she just ran huge,” said Campbell. “Just like her race six weeks [ago], she popped out of the gate running. We weren't going that fast and she was very comfortable. She just travelled so well to the quarter pole and when I asked her, she actually moved quicker than I thought she was going to. I didn't want to make the lead that soon, but thank God I had that much horse. She just raced so hard to the wire. This horse is as confident as a horse can get.”
Solid Appeal picked up $120,000 for the win to push her career bankroll to $404,381 while winning her fifth start in 14 outings. As the 5-1 third choice, Solid Appeal paid $13.10, $6.60 and $5.20, combining with Julie's Love ($6.20, $5.40) for a $96.30 (10-1) exactor. A 10-1-9 (No Explaining, $6.40) triactor came back $1,049.80 while a $1 Superfecta [10-1-9-8 (Coffee Clique)] was worth a healthy $3,797.10.
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