It was a good day at Woodbine Saturday for trainer Mark Casse, who saddled Spring Venture and Spring in the Air, both daughters of Spring at Last, to a 1-2 finish in the Grade 2, $270,444 Natalma for two-year-old fillies.
Spring Venture, the 2-1 favorite, endured a clean trip in a congested field of 14 despite racing in between rivals down the backside. No more than 2 1/2 lengths behind the leader at any point, the filly waited for a clear path down the long straight, burst past her tiring foes once she found it, and won eased up by 1 3/4 lengths under Patrick Husbands. Final time for one mile over the yielding turf was 1:37 1/5.
"By the time we leave there, my filly wanted to lead," Husbands said. "I was taking a good hold of her. She showed me that she wasn't scared. So I finally got her back off (the speed) and she relaxed good."
Spring Venture rewarded her backers with mutuels of $6.90, $4.60 and $3.80.
In a tightly-bunched pack, Spring in the Air was 11th, but only four lengths off the lead, passing the quarter pole. She rallied on the outside to grab second by a neck over fellow closer Nancy O, who had a neck on Kitten's Dumplings and two necks on Coconut Shrimp. Next came Shenandoah Lady, who led for seven furlongs through splits of :23 1/5, :47 2/5 and 1:13.Completing the order of finish were Carmel, Tiz Ro, Dancing for Glory, Summer of Fun, Rutherford Rd, Fearless Jacq, Sure Would and Bwana Go Fast. Incredible Journey was scratched.
Spring Venture is owned by Gary Barber and breeder Stoneway Farm. The Kentucky-bred sold for $320,00 at the OBS June sale of two-year-olds. The chestnut made a winning debut at Woodbine August 18, romping by 4 1/4 lengths going seven furlongs on the turf. She is now two-for-two at the track with earnings of $188,217.
Spring Venture will likely reappear in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita on November 2, as the Natalma was a 'Win and You're In' prep for that one-mile event.
Spring Venture was produced by Grade 3-placed Zahway, a daughter of Rahy. Zahwah is also responsible for the multiple-stakes placed Swift Artist. Her second dam was Grade 2 winner Funistrada, who produced Grade 2 winner Krisada and the Grade 1-placed stakes winner Conte Di Savoya. Funistrada is the granddam of current multiple Grade 3 winner Rahystrada and Grade 3 hero Lone Star Sky.
This extended female family yielded 1985 champion grass male and noted sire Cozzene.
Later Saturday, I'm Boundtoscore posted a wire-to-wire score in the Grade 2, $258,205 Summer for males with Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf aspirations.
Guided by Sarah Rook, I'm Boundtoscore held a half-length advantage through splits of :23 4/5 and :47 3/5, and then increased his margin to 1 1/2 lengths after six furlongs in 1:12 3/5. In the stretch, the colt opened up a 2 1/2-length lead with a furlong to go, but saw that margin diminish to a half-length at the wire as 7-1 chance Are You Kidding Me rallied with a solid bid. The final time for one mile was 1:37 3/5, two-fifths of a second slower than the Natalma.
I'm Boundtoscore paid $23.50, $10.40 and $5.80 at 10-1. Are You Kidding Me finished 1 1/2 lengths ahead of 4-1 shot Indiano Jones for the place, with 5-2 favorite Best Play another 1 1/4 lengths behind in fourth. Completing the order of finish were The B's and E's, Mercenary, Archer Hill and Bear's Furr.
I'm Boundtoscore has now won three of five starts for earnings of $226,325. He made a winning debut at the Keeneland spring meet in April, capturing a 4 1/2-furlong maiden on the Polytrack by a half-length. Rested 2 1/2 months, he returned in late June to finish third in an allowance over the Tapeta surface at Presque Isle Downs, and then made a successful transition to turf by taking the 5 1/2-furlong Chenery at Colonial Down by 2 1/4 lengths. He preceded this triumph with a half-length second in the Tyro at Monmouth Park going five-eighths on the turf.
"We were coming home from the Chenery (on July 21) and we were picking our races where we would go and we started out coming here for the Swynford Stakes," said trainer Troy Rankin, who co-owns I'm Boundtoscore with Joe Davis. "But after he came out of the Tyro, the way he trained, he just showed us he wanted the grass. I felt for sure he could do the mile. I didn't really know he could do it as strong as he did. He's always surprising me. Every time I ask him, he steps up.
"The Breeders Cup was on there (the radar) all along. His first start at Keeneland, we knew he was good. But each time he stepped up and showed us how much better he was. But we didn't think we'd go to the front and hold it all the way. We were very surprised but he's got a mind of his own and living up to his name."
Bred in Indiana by the Tollgate Stables Partnership, I'm Boundtoscore was produced by the winning Pulpit mare Unaltered. His second dam was the stakes-winning Lipstick.
This is the extended family of multiple Grade 2 winner Two Item Limit, the dam of Grade 2 heroine Arena Elvira.