Dancing Allstar, Canada's champion 2-year-old filly two years ago, won the first graded stakes race of the 2009 Woodbine season when she dictated the pace en route to a 1 3/4-length win in the $124,108 Whimsical Stakes (Can-III) April 18.
The British Columbia-bred 4-year-old daughter of Millennium Allstar earned her eighth Canadian stakes win and her first graded score for owner Bahadur Cheema. Terry Jordan is the winning conditioner.
Ridden by James McAleney, Dancing Allstar showed speed after breaking third in the field of seven older fillies and mares. She gained a short advantage over Arden Belle and 9-10 favorite Smart Surprise down the backstretch while posting fractions of :23.22 and :45.60 on the Polytrack. Dancing Allstar edged away to a two-length lead heading into the turn and was in command in the stretch, holding sway after taking a three-length lead over Smart Surprise and David Clark at the eighth pole.
Dancing Allstar won in hand while clocking a smart time of 1:09.16 for the six furlongs.
"I was really happy with this filly,” said McAleney. “Terry always brings them over at 110%. She ran back to her old races. She's just a brilliant filly."
Smart Surprise, who hung late after narrowing the gap, finished three-quarters of a length ahead of Proud Heiress, who rallied from last to get third for jockey Robert Landry. Hello Maggie May, Mimi Cooper, Arden Belle, and London Snow followed.
The is was the first start of the year for Dancing Allstar, who last raced Aug. 30 when she finished fifth in Hasting Park's Hong Kong Jockey Club Handicap as the favorite. The chestnut filly won six consecutive stakes in 2007-08. She ran her career mark to 9-2-1 in 14 starts with earnings of $496,229. The Whimsical win was worth $74,070.
"She looks like she’s at least three or four inches taller and even wider,” said McAleney, who rode her in the Duchess Stakes at Woodbine last summer. “She's got a great constitution, and now she's got a body that matches it."
In her only prior graded stakes try, Dancing Allstar finished third in the Azalea Stakes (gr. III) at Calder Race Course July 12. She now has two wins and two seconds in five Woodbine starts.
"She was running well," Jordan said. "When we sent her to Florida, she got hung up in the airport in Chicago for about 12 hours. It really bothered her and hurt her a lot. After that she just said, 'I don't want to do this (any) more this year.’ We turned her out and got her back again."
Bent Tree Farm bred the winner, who is out of the Honor Grades mare High On Believen. She sold for $13,821 in the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society (British Columbia Division) 2006 summer mixed sale.
Sent off as the second choice, Dancing Allstar paid $8.90, $3.40, and $3.60 while topping a $2 exacta worth $24.30.
Smart Surprise, who won the Bessarabian Stakes at Woodbine last fall and was one of two starters in the field that had run this year, returned $2.40 and $2.20.
Proud Heiress, the other who had started this year, paid $4.30 to show in her Woodbine debut for trainer Wayne Mogge.
Verdana Bold scratched.