Strut the Course seeks her second graded stakes win of the year in the Ontario Matron Stakes.

Strut the Course seeks her second graded stakes win of the year in the Ontario Matron Stakes.

Michael Burns

Strut the Course Tops Ontario Matron Field

2014 champion older mare in Canada won the Dance Smartly Stakes July 5.

John Unger’s homebred champion Strut the Course seeks her second graded stakes win of the year when she faces six other older fillies and mares in the $150,000 Ontario Matron Stakes (Can-III) at Woodbine July 25.

The 5-year-old daughter of Strut the Stage trained by Barbara Minshall is the 2014 champion older mare in Canada and will break from the 3 post as the 124-pound highweight in the Matron, contested at 1 1/16 miles over the synthetic main track.

Following a fifth-place effort in the Nassau Stakes (Can-II) in her 2015 debut, Strut the Course rallied in the stretch to overtake the leaders and held off a hard-charging Whatsdachances in the Dance Smartly Stakes (Can-II) July 5. The multiple stakes winner has an 8-3-2 record from 19 starts, with earnings of $701,025. Luis Contreras will be aboard again in the Ontario Matron.

Breaking from the rail is Checkered Past, a Sam-Son Farm homebred also seeking her second stakes of the year, having previously won the June 13 Trillium Stakes for the second straight time. The 5-year-old daughter of Smart Strike was ninth in her first start this year, an allowance/optional claimer on truf at Gulstream Park, and most recently was sixth in the Woodbine’s Hendrie Stakes (Can-III).

Trained by Malcolm Pierce, Checkered Past will be ridden by Eurico Rose Da Silva under 121 pounds. Victorious in her only two starts of 2014, an allowance and the Trillium, Checkered Past has been in the money in nine of 12 starts, with five wins to her credit.

Hendrie Stakes winner Skylander Girl, a 4-year-old daughter of Stroll, is the most experienced filly or mare in the field, with four wins and nine placings from 24 starts and earnings of $559,487. Owned and trained by Alexander P. Patykewich, the filly also won two stakes at Woodbine in 2013 and has been second or third in seven additional stakes at Woodbine.

Sweater Weather will be looking to snap a three-race winless streak that consists of seventh-, sixth-, and fifth-place finishes in Woodbine stakes in her 2015 outings. The 4-year-old daughter of Milwaukee Brew  trained by Robert F. Tiller for owner Frank D. Di Giulio Jr. won two stakes last year, including the La Lorgenette in her season finale in September.

Completing the field are Midnight Ballet, a daughter of Midnight Lute  who was a stakes winner at Hollywood Park in 2012; Uchenna, an Irish-bred daughter of Fastnet Rock trained by Roger Attfield seeking her first stakes victory in the Ontario Matron and second win since being imported to Canada from England earlier this year; and Copper Kitten, a Kitten's Joy  filly who also is winless in stakes company.

Entries: Ontario Matron S. (G3)

Woodbine, Saturday, July 25, 2015, Race 8

  • Grade III
  • 1 1/16m
  • All Weather Track
  • $150,000
  • 3 yo's & up Fillies and Mares
  • 4:41 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Checkered Past (ON)Eurico Rosa Da Silva121Malcolm Pierce-
22Uchenna (IRE)Keeneland Sales GraduateAlan Garcia117Roger L. Attfield-
33Strut the Course (ON)Keeneland Sales GraduateLuis Contreras124Barbara J. Minshall-
44Midnight Ballet (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJustin Stein117Steve Attard-
55Sweater Weather (ON)Emma-Jayne Wilson121Robert P. Tiller-
66Skylander Girl (ON)Keeneland Sales GraduateEmile Ramsammy117Alexander P. Patykewich-
77Copper Kitten (ON)Gerry Olguin117David R. Bell-