Spring Venture springs into action in Mazarine

One day after Spring in the Air captured the Grade 1 Alcibiades at Keeneland, stablemate Spring Venture moved her record to a perfect three-for-three with a nice 1 1/2-length win in the Grade 3, $205,361 Mazarine Stakes at Woodbine on Saturday.

Trained by Mark Casse and ridden by Patrick Husbands, the same duo who joined Spring in the Air in the Keeneland winner's circle, and by Spring at Last, the same sire of the Alcibiades winner, Spring Venture made her main track debut a winning one when completing 1 1/16 miles in 1:46 3/5 over the Polytrack as the 2-5 favorite.

Shenandoah Lady tried to lead all the way home, setting fractions of :24 2/5, :50 and 1:14 2/5 on the backstretch. Husbands had Spring Venture settled into the third spot well off the rail before moving up nearing the turn. The chestnut miss drew even with the pacesetter entering the lane and asserted her class to easily draw off for the victory.

"I tried to give (Spring Venture) an easy, easy race," Husbands explained. "She was so relaxed but at the half-mile pole, I squeezed her a little bit and she eased off. At the top of the lane, I got busy and she just got rolling again.

"It's a great feeling to sit on these good horses," he added, speaking of both Spring at Last fillies. "All you can do is smile. Both of them are two good fillies. I'm only the pilot. Two nice fillies. I'll leave it to Mark Casse to say who is the better one."

Seaneen Girl got up to stick her head in front of Every Way on the wire, while Shenandoah Lady finished another 3 1/2 lengths farther back in fourth. Anfield Park and Jazzy Jane completed the order under the wire after Floral Sky and Bwana Go Fast were both withdrawn.

Bred in Kentucky by co-owner Stoneway Farm, Spring Venture has raced exclusively at Woodbine thus far. She made her career debut on August 18 over that Toronto venue's turf, easily winning by 4 1/4 lengths, then returned last out to take the Grade 2 Natalma over the Woodbine green by 1 3/4 lengths on September 15.

Also campaigned by Gary Barber, the filly has now banked $310,821 and earned an automatic bid into the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf with her Natalma score.

"Everybody's looking forward to the Breeders' Cup," Husbands smiled.

Spring Venture is out of the Grade 3-placed Rahy mare Zahwah, making her a half-sister to dual stakes-placed Swift Artist. Zahwah is herself a daughter of Grade 3 heroine Funistrada and a half-sister to Grade 2 victress Krisada and Grade 2-placed stakes winner Conte di Savoya. Another of Zahwah's half-siblings, the unraced Deputy Minister mare Ministrada, would go on in the breeding shed to produce Grade 3 stars Rahystrada and Lone Star Sky.

This is the same female family as Grade 1-winning champion turf horse and sire Cozzene.

Earlier on Woodbine's Saturday card, Eaton Hall Farm's Lateegra returned from a two-month freshening and rallied five wide in the $153,257 Carotene Stakes to score a neck victory under jockey Slade Callaghan. Trained by Mike Doyle, the Ontario-bred bay lass ran 1 1/8 miles on the firm turf in 1:48 4/5 to earn her first black-type win.

"She broke out and relaxed pretty nice behind the speed," Callaghan said. "I was quite content to be where we were. In the end, I just wore them down and she was the best horse today. She relaxed the best out of every time I've ridden her so far."

The North Light sophomore filly made her stakes bow a second in the Wonder Where on July 29 before facing the boys next out in the Breeders' Stakes on August 5. She came back here from a seventh-place effort in that latter race and now boasts $207,220 in lifetime earnings to go along with a 11-2-3-0 career mark.

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