Outsider Hooh Why slipped past heavily favored Tribal Belle on the turn and persevered through the long Woodbine stretch to win the $155,363 Seaway Stakes (gr. III) (VIDEO) Sept. 4.
Ridden by Emile Ramsammy, the winning 4-year-old daughter of Cloud Hopping tallied by 1 3/4 lengths over Indian Apple Is, who rallied from last in the stretch to pip Mother Russia for second by a head. The winning time for the seven-furlong test of five older fillies and mares was 1:23.51 over Woodbine's Polytrack.
Tribal Belle, bidding for a repeat win in the Seaway as the 11-10 choice, took the lead over Mother Russia shortly after the start, with Hooh Why pushing the leader from the rail for Ramsammy. Tribal Belle, ridden by James McAleney, led Hooh Why by a half-length after an opening quarter-mile of :22.86, but Hooh Why gained a slight advantage with three furlongs to run after completing a half-mile in a swift :44.81.
Hooh Why edged clear of Tribal Belle rounding the turn and was in command in the stretch as Mother Russia, ridden by Mike Luzzi, moved into position to challenge. Hooh Why, though, held off the threat to lead by 1 1/2 lengths at the eighth pole. She proved too tough to catch as Indian Apple Is, rallying six wide into the lane for Chantal Sutherland, got up for the place spot. Mother Russia finished three lengths in front of the fading Tribal Belle, with Carem Crescent last.
The much-traveled Hooh Why, saddled by Donald MacRae for owners Derby Daze Farm, Mark Hoffman and Earl Trostrud, picked up her first stakes win since taking the La Lorgnette at Woodbine more than 15 months ago. Her biggest win came in the 2009 Ashland Stakes (gr. I) when she upset Stardom Bound. Hooh Why improved off a fourth-place finish in the Belle Mahone Stakes at Woodbine Aug. 22.
"Mark (Hoffman) and I are friends," said MacRae. "He was leaving her up here for a bit and he had to go out of town. He left her with me. Mark and I talked every day. I kept her under his program. I just had to keep her happy. She's a classy filly."
The victory was Hooh Why's sixth in 22 lifetime starts and boosted her earnings to $755,902 with the winner's share of $86,580. Hooh Why has won three of seven starts on Woodbine's Polytrack with a second and two thirds.
Bred in Florida by Gail Gee, the chestnut filly Hooh Why is out of Magic Merger, by Corporate Report.
Sent off as the second-longest shot in the short field, Hooh Why carried 117 pounds and paid $15.50, $5.50, and $3.80. She topped a $63.20 exacta. Indian Apple Is, who upset Tribal Belle in the Sweet Briar Too Stakes at Woodbine July 1, returned $4.70 and $3.20. New York-bred invader Mother Russia was $3.40 to show.
Tribal Belle, the inaugural winner of Canada's Sovereign Award as the nation's top female sprinter last year, has now lost three of four starts in 2010.