The last time John Oxley’s Spring in the Air dropped back to a sprint after a series of two-turn races, she won the seven-furlong Fury Stakes at Woodbine. That was last May following a poor effort in the Ashland Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland.
This time, the daughter of Spring At Last—Unbridled Run, by Unbridled will be making her 2014 debut in the $150,000 Whimsical Stakes (Can-III) over six furlongs at Woodbine not having run since a well-beaten third in the La Lorgnette Stakes at the Toronto track Sept. 21.
Trained by Mark Casse and bred in Ontario by WinStar Farm, Spring in the Air has a class edge over her five opponents, finishing second in the Woodbine Oaks and Wonder Where Stakes and fourth against the boys in the Queen’s Plate in 2013. The year before as a 2-year-old, she won the grade I Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland, finished second in the Natalma Stakes (Can-II) at Woodbine, and was fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I).
Spring in the Air will break on the far outside in the small field under Patrick Husbands.
One of the fillies she will have to catch is the appropriately named Youcan'tcatchme, who had rattled off four victories in five starts before tiring badly in the seven-furlong Bessarabian Stakes (Can-II) Dec. 1 at Woodbine. Prior to that, she captured a pair grade III sprints, as well as a listed stakes, all at Woodbine.
The daughter of The Daddy, who breaks from post 5, also will be making her first start of the year. She is likely to vie for the lead with the speedy Goldstryke Glory, who breaks from the rail and is another making her 2014 debut.
In Goldstryke Glory's last start, she got the jump early on Youcan’tcatchme in the Apelia Stakes Oct. 2 and went on to a 1 1/4-length victory. This followed a 7 1/2-length romp in the Inglorious Stakes. The daughter of Second in Command will be trying for her fourth straight victory.
The remainder of the field is made up of closers who are more than capable of picking up the pieces if there is a suicidal duel up front.
Mekong Delta, who was a fast-closing second in the Bessarabian Stakes last time out, is a former high-priced claimer who began rounding into form late last year for trainer Michael Mattine.
Sounds of the City hasn’t won since March of 2013, but she occasionally puts in strong efforts, including a solid fourth in last year’s Presque Isle Masters (gr. II), beaten only 4 1/4 lengths by champion filly and mare sprint Groupie Doll.
Rounding out the field is Purely Hot, the only filly in the field who has run this year, finishing third in a starter allowance race at Keeneland. The daughter of Pure Prize is looking to return to her form of last fall when she was second in the Presque Isle Masters, finishing ahead of Judy the Beauty and fourth to that rival in the grade II TCA Stakes at Keeneland.
$150,000 Whimsical Stakes (gr. III, Race 8, approximate post time 4:47 p.m. EDT), 4 Year-Olds and Up, Fillies and Mares, six furlongs
1. Goldstryke Glory (BC), S. Callaghan, 121, K. Callaghan
2. Mekong Delta (ONT), G.L. Olguin, 117, Michael Mattine
3. Sounds of the City (KY), A. Serpa, 115, A. Goldberg
4. Purely Hot (MD), E.R. Da Silva, 119, T. McCauley
5. Youcan’tcatchme (FLA), J. Stein, 124, S, DiPasquale
6. Spring in the Air (ONT), P. Husbands, 121, M. Casse