The Aug, 17 Ontario Colleen Stakes (gr. IIIT) run at one mile at Woodbine looks to be one big grab bag, with no standout and a number of classy fillies on Polytrack trying their luck on grass, several for the first time.
Among the field of nine 3-year-olds are the first three finishers of the seven-furlong Duchess Stakes at Woodbine July 21, with the winner, Leigh Court, and third-place finisher, Sky Treasure, trying grass for the first time in their career. Runner-up Captivating Dancer, has had a pair of grass races, winning an allowance/optional claimer and finishing seventh in her career debut.
The field as a whole has made a total of 34 starts on a synthetic surface and only 19 starts on grass.
The filly with the best turf form is Pin Oak Stable’s Overheard, who won the Alywow Stakes at Woodbine June 9 for trainer Malcolm Pierce. The daughter of Macho Uno has never been out of the money in seven career starts and has a second-place finish in the Appalachian Stakes (gr. IIIT) on grass at Keeneland. In her last appearance on Polytrack she was third to Coffee Clique in the Selene Stakes (gr. III) at Woodbine.
Two other fillies who have shown good form on grass are Coffee Clique and Savvy Hester. Coffee Clique, a daughter of Medaglia d'Oro trained by Brian Lynch, was fourth in the Dance Smartly Stakes (gr. IIT) on grass in her last start and was second in the Secret Grace Stakes at Gulfstream Park in March. Her best race, however, came in the Selene Stakes.
Savvy Hester, trained by Ricky Griffith, has run six of her eight career races on synthetic or dirt, but she did finish second in the Christiana Stakes on grass at Delaware Park two races back. Her other turf race was a third-place finish in the Alywow Stakes.
Leigh Court, trained by Josie Carroll, won the Duchess Stakes by 5 1/2 lengths and was fifth in the Selene after opening a 10-length lead in her first start around two turns.
Mark Casse and John Oxley are always a tough team at Woodbine and they are well represented with Sky Treasure, although the daughter of Sky Mesa will be making her grass debut.
Because of the wide-open nature of the race, you have to give a good shot to the Reade Baker-trained She's Popular, even though the daughter of Badge of Silver just broke her maiden in her last start. But that was on grass and she won going away by almost two lengths. In her previous start, also on grass, she came flying from 11th to finish fourth going 6 1/2 furlongs and should appreciate the extra distance of the Ontario Colleen.
$150,000 Ontario Colleen Stakes (gr. III, Race 8, approximate post 4:18 p.m. EDT), 3-year-old fillies, one mile
1—Captivating Dancer (FLA), D. Moran, M. Doyle
2—Rutherford Rd (ONT), J.V. Bridgmohan, M. Doyle
3—Savvy Hester (KY), T, Pizarro, R. Griffith
4—Coffee Clique (KY), L. Conteras, B. Lynch
5—Big Brown Brookski (ONT), J.M. Campbell, R. Baker
6—Leigh Court (KY), G. Boulanger, J. Carroll
7—Overheard (KY), E.R. Da Silva, M. Pierce
8—Sky Treasure (KY), J. Stein, M. Casse
9—She’s Popular (KY), E. Wilson, R. Baker