Code Warrior dueled early and had more than enough left in the tank in taking Sunday's $129,050 Grade 3 Hendrie Stakes at Woodbine.
Trained by Rachel Halden for owners J.C. Racing Stable, Wachtel Stable and Gary Barber, Code Warrior, a four-year-old Society's Chairman mare, was making her second straight start at Woodbine having finished third in the Ballade Stakes on May 14.
Code Warrior tracked pacesetter Chic Thrill to the outside under regular rider Anne Sanguinetti through an opening quarter of :23.22, while the trio of Rattataptap, Miss Ella and Jennifer Lynnette kept tabs on the lead duo.
At the half-mile mark, timed in :46.70, Code Warrior was a half-length in command. She began to widen that lead down the lane, extending her advantage to 1 ½-lengths at the stretch call. A hard-charging Minks Aprise launched a furious bid, but fell three-quarters of a length shy to settle for second. Jennifer Lynnette was a further half-length back in third, while Miss Ella won a photo for fourth.
Code Warrior stopped the teletimer in 1:16.80 over 6 1/2-furlongs of Tapeta.
The consistent dark bay mare came into the Hendrie off a pair of seconds and thirds in four starts this season. Code Warrior put in a solid effort in her Toronto oval debut in the Ballade, missing the runner-up prize by a neck.
On Sunday, the Florida-bred was at the top of her game for Sanguinetti, who delivered a victory to her parents, John and Chris, of JC Racing Stable.
“It's pretty cool,” said the rider, of the family connection. “I've just been riding her since she was two. She's a little quirky, she's really sweet, but she has her own way of doing things. It's kind of better, everybody thought, to stick with what works.”
Halden was hoping the second time at Woodbine would be the charm for Code Warrior, who had been racing in California prior to coming to Toronto.
“She came me to me in the spring at Keeneland,” noted Halden. “She flew from California to Keeneland and then we shipped here. She ran a very big race (Ballade). After shipping from California and on the road from there to here, I think between that last race and this race, she just seemed to really settle in and get into a rhythm. We were feeling confident – not too confident – but we were excited about today. Everything all worked out well for us.”
One big key in the Hendrie was letting Code Warrior call the shots.
“She's just very particular,” offered Sanguinetti. “Everything has to be her way. You can't argue with her.”
Bred by Pamela Edel, Code Warrior banked $75,000 in victory while improving her record to 4-3-2 from 12 starts.
She paid $25.80, $9.40 and $5.40, combining with Minks Aprise ($5.30, $3.20) for a $142.30 (6-2) exactor. A 6-2-10 triactor (Jennifer Lynnette, $4.30 to show) was worth $837.60, while a $1 Superfecta [6-2-10-8 (Miss Ella)] came back $1,963.90.
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