Stars to Shine and Bear It's Time bookend the $150,000 Ontario Matron Stakes (Can-III) as co-highweights at Woodbine July 22, but grade I winner Hooh Why has the most impressive resume in the field of nine.
The Ontario Matron, at 1 1/16 miles on the all weather surface for older fillies and mares, is race 6 with an approximate post of 3:34 p.m. EDT.
Stars to Shine, who won the $100,000 Trillium Stakes by a nose going 1 1/8 miles at Woodbine June 24 in her first start of the season, is seeking her first graded win for The Grange House Partnership and trainer Mark Frostad. Prior to the Trillium, the 5-year-old daughter of Tale of the Cat last raced in the 2011 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland Oct. 9, where she finished fifth. She also was graded stakes-placed in 2011, with a third in the Canadian Stakes (Can-III) off a victory in the ungraded Belle Mahone. She carries 121 pounds, including jockey Alex Solis, from the post 1 as the 2-1 favorite on the morning line.
Hooh Why, who took the Ashland Stakes (gr. I) in 2009, gets a break in the weights at 117 and is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line. The Florida-bred winner of more than $1 million in 41 starts seeks her first graded win of 2012. After a lackluster 2011, Hooh Why has been more successful this season. She launched her 2012 campaign with a score in the Florida Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Stakes Jan. 28 at Gulfstream Park and took a pair of overnight stakes on the turf before running second in the May 26 Arlington Matron (gr. III).
Last year, the 6-year-old daughter of Cloud Hopping was fifth in the Ontario Matron. She comes off a third-place finish in the Girls Incorporated of Shelbyville, Shelby County Stakes, a one-mile turf event at Indiana Downs June 27 for the estate of Gail Gee, Mark Hoffman, and Earl Trostrud, Jr.
Bear Stable's Bear It's Time will be making her first start of 2012 in the Ontario Matron. The 4-year-old Ontario-bred daughter of Philanthropist has not raced since taking the Oct. 5 Classy 'n Smart Stakes at Woodbine in 2011. Last year, trainer Reade Baker also sent her to victory by a head in the 1 1/16-mile Bison City Stakes in July when she came flying with an all-out rally from fifth to get up in the nick of time. Her 121-pound impost will include jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson from post 9.
Ariana D is looking for her first graded stakes win and has been knocking on the door in all three starts in graded company this year. Under the supervision of Andrew McKeever, the 6-year-old daughter of Rock Slide was third in the seven-furlong Vinery Madison Stakes (gr. I) on Polytrack at Keeneland April 12. She then went to Arlington Park to finish third in the May 26 Arlington Matron and third as the high weight in the June 30 Chicago Handicap (gr. III).
Now back with trainer Laurie Silvera, who sent her to her most recent victory, a 5 1/4-length score going seven furlongs last year in the Oct. 1 Avowal Stakes at Woodbine, Ariana D could prove dangerous. She dashed to a fast-closing victory over Hooh Why two years ago in the 2010 Bessarabian Stakes at odds of 18-1 for Maple Lane Farm.
Trainer Roger Attfield sends out a duo of allowance winners in Charles Fipke's Ima Soul Miss and Stronach Stables' Smart Penny. Smart Penny, a 4-year-old daughter of Smart Strike , was third in the Trillium last time out and won three straight races at Woodbine in 2011.
Ima Soul Miss, by Perfect Soul , ran seventh last time out in the April 8 Wait a While Stakes at Gulfstream Park, 1 1/16 miles on the turf, after winning a one-mile turf allowance by five lengths at Tampa Bay Downs in March.
Rock the Moon for trainer Mark Casse, Rashnaa, trained by Robert Tiller, and Maristar, from the Gerard Butler barn, complete the field.
$150,000 Ontario Matron Stakes (gr. III, Race 6, 3:34 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles (All Weather)
PP., Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, Odds
1. Stars to Shine (KY), A.O. Solis, 121, M R Frostad, 2/1
2. Rock the Moon (KY), J.V. Bridgmohan, 117, M E Casse, 12/1
3. Ariana D (PA), O. Moreno, 119, L Silvera, 6/1
4. Rashnaa (KY), T. Kabel, 117, R P Tiller, 20/1
5. Hooh Why (FL), R.D. Allen, Jr., 117, M Hoffman 3/1
6. Maristar (KY), D. Moran, 117, G A Butler, 8/1
7. Ima Soul Miss (ON), L. Contreras, 117, R L Attfield, 20/1
8. Smart Penny (KY), P. Husbands, 117, R L Attfield, 4/1
9. Bear It's Time (ON), E. Wilson, 121, R Baker, 10/1