Melnyk Racing Stable's Canadian champion filly Leigh Court
led at every point of call as the 13-10 favorite and cruised to a comfortable win the $142,172 Seaway Stakes
) on Polytrack Aug. 24 at Woodbine
Last season's Sovereign Award winner as Canadian top 3-year-old filly, Leigh Court was making her first start in more than 10 months. She was eager at the start, overhauling speedy Youcan'tcatchme
, last year's Seawy winner, to quickly take charge. She opened a two-length lead as Youcan'tcatchme pursued through quick opening fraction of :23.16 and :45.93 for a half-mile.
Youcan'tcatchme tracked Leigh Court to the turn and was two-wide into the stretch. Toasting
, who was last in the field of 10 through the opening quarter, was pushed along to advance to third early in the stretch. She passed fading Youcan'tcatchme but was no match Leigh Court, who extended her command to five lengths at the eighth pole.
Leigh Court was ridden out to a 2 1/2-length triumph under a hand ride from Gary Boulanger as Toasting settled for second, a neck in front of U.S. grade I winner and Canadian champion Spring in the Air
The final time for the seven furlongs 1:22.27 on Woodbine's all-weather track.
Last year, Leigh Court sprang to prominence by winning three consecutive stakes: the seven furlong Duchess on the all-weather track, the one mile Ontario Colleen (Can-III) on turf, and the 1 1/16-mil La Lorgnette, also on the all-weather, to earn post-season honors. The homebred daughter of Grand Slam
finished the year with a creditable fourth-place finish in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (gr. IT) on grass at Keeneland
in October and did not start again until Sunday's race.
Leigh Court showed no signs of rust in her return from the long layoff for trainer Josie Carroll.
"She's been working tremendously," said Boulanger, who has partnered with Kentucky-bred Leigh Court in her past six starts, four of which were stakes wins. "The funny thing is I've never ever sent this filly. She does that all on her own. Keeping her happy, she and I seem to click and whatever the reason, we get along well."
Leigh Court earned $82,233 for the win, her sixth victory in 10 lifetime outings, to push her career bankroll to $417,673.
A homebred out of the French Deputy mare Padmore, Leigh Court paid $4.60, $3.50, and $2.80 while Toasting returned $10.40 and $6.20, both under 117 pounds. Spring in the Air, the co-topweight at 119, was worth $2.90 to show.