Making her first start since last October, Melnyk Racing Stable's Leigh Court took the lead shortly after the start and never looked back, scoring a 2 1/2 length victory geared down in Sunday's Grade 3, $150,000 Seaway Stakes at Woodbine.
The multiple stakes winner broke slower than Youcan'tcatchme but caught up regardless, setting the early tempo down the backstretch and emerging at the head of the stretch 5 lengths in front. When the time came to kick away, she did so effortlessly, galloping home under mild urging from Gary Boulanger. The 6-5 favorite paid $4.60 to win.
“It's a tremendous honour to be part of this team and riding her,” said Boulanger. “The success we've had has been a dream come true. The funny thing is I've never ever sent this filly. She does that all on her own. Keeping her happy, she and I seem to click and whatever the reason, we get along well.”
Toasting finished second, ahead of Spring in the Air and Northern Passion. The final time was 1:22.27 for seven furlongs.
Leigh Court put together three straight stakes victories last summer before finishing fourth in Keeneland's Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup on October 12. The Seaway romp was the Josie Carroll trainee's sixth win in 10 lifetime starts.
“She's filled out a lot,” Carroll said. “Last year, she looked like a baby, a three-year-old. This year, she's got a big rear end on her and she's really gotten stronger. We thought we'd get her first start out of the way, then play it from there.”
Bred in Kentucky by her owner, Eugene Melnyk, Leigh Court is a 4-year-old daughter of the late Grand Slam and out of Padmore, by French Deputy.
Star Pearl, Youcan'tcatchme, Aunt Els, Blues and Silvers, Black Bird Rock, and Mekong Delta completed the order of finish.
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