Recent efforts to get Eugene Melnyk's high-strung homebred Leigh Court to settle and relax paid off handsomely Aug. 17 when she won the grade III Ontario Colleen Stakes wire to wire in her turf debut at Woodbine (VIDEO).
The 3-year-old daughter of Grand Slam—Padmore, by French Deputy, showed early on she had talent, breaking her maiden Feb. 1 by 3 1/4 lengths. But how far she could go from there always depended on her controlling that energy and aggression.
"This horse has improved by leaps and bounds," said trainer Josie Carroll, who picked up a second win of the day at Woodbine in the Colleen. "We were thrilled to get her from the start, but she has been very high-strung. It has been the people in my barn who have worked with her and gotten her to relax."
The dark bay or brown filly also does well, apparently, under the guidance of jockey Gary Boulanger, who has now won two stakes with Leigh Court. Together they won the Duchess Stakes at Woodbine July 21.
"(Gary) gets her to chill for him," Carroll said.
Boulanger said he expected Leigh Court to do well in her initial turf start because he had worked her a couple of times on the Woodbine lawn and she really took to it.
"She did great today. It has all been about letting her relax and not get too aggressive," Boulanger said.
Despite getting knocked sideways right out of the gate by Overheard
, Leigh Court grabbed the lead early and kept the rest of the field at bay by a couple of lengths in solid fractions of :23.75, :46.70, and 1:10.27. Coming out of the turn the field fanned out and Overheard and Eurico Da Silva began a feverish chase after Leigh Court. Pin Oak Stable's homebred daughter of Macho Uno
valiantly closed the gap but came up three-quarters of a length short at the wire. The final time was 1:33.32.
Leigh Court paid $12, $6.10, and $3.20. Overheard paid $4.50 and $2.60, while heavy favorite Coffee Clique
, who won the Selene Stakes (Can-III) by four lengths on May 19, finished third and paid $2.10.
The $2 exacta paid $51.10 and the $2 trifecta paid $122.30.