Solid Appeal is a perfect 2 for 2 in 2013.

Solid Appeal is a perfect 2 for 2 in 2013.

Michael Burns

Dance Smartly: Much to Like in Solid Appeal

Upset winner of Nassau Stakes faces tough group of turf runners July 7 at Woodbine.

Solid Appeal, upset winner of the Nassau Stakes (Can-IIT) in May, looks to remain unbeaten in 2013 as the 122-pound highweight in the $200,000 Dance Smartly Stakes (gr. II) July 7 at Woodbine.

The Dance Smartly, for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles, is the first of three graded stakes on turf preceding the Queen's Plate, one of the biggest days of the year at Woodbine. Race 6 on the program, it has a scheduled 3:02 p.m. EDT post.

A strong field of 11, including top Canadian older fillies Irish Mission and Northern Passion as well as stakes-winning shippers Julie's Love and Hard Not to Like, await Solid Appeal.

Trained by Reade Baker for Jim and Susan Hill, Solid Appeal enjoyed a stalking trip in the one-mile Nassau May 25 as an 8-1 outsider. She made her bid in the stretch to defeat favored Irish Mission by 1 1/2 lengths, with Northern Passion third. The 4-year-old daughter of Successful Appeal  began the year with a 2 1/2-length allowance tally in an off-the-turf event April 24 at Keeneland.

A four-time winner from 13 starts, she will be guided from post 10 by Jesse Campbell, who was aboard for the Nassau score. Solid Appeal picks up five pounds.

Irish Mission won Sovereign Awards last year as Canada's top turf female and 3-year-old filly. The Giant's Causeway  filly settled for second in the Nassau, which was her first start in two months for trainer Mark Frostad and owner Robert S. Evans. She was making a severe cutback in distance after running third in the 1 1/2-mile Orchid Stakes (gr. IIIT) March 30 at Gulfstream Park. Alex Solis is back aboard Irish Mission, who carries 118 from post 4.

John Oxley's Northern Passion returned form the Nassau to capture the restricted Zadracarta Stakes June 15 as the favorite, making a big late push to win by a neck. Shaun Bridgmohan picks up the mount from Luis Contreras, who sticks with Selene Stakes (Can-III) winner Coffee Clique.

Amerman Racing's 3-year-old Coffee Clique faces older rivals for the first time while switching to the turf, a surface over which she won once in three tries at Gulfstream earlier this year. Trained by Brian Lynch, the daughter of Medaglia d'Oro  obviously has some ability. She swept past Woodbine Oaks winner Nipissing, one of the favorites for the Queen's Plate, by four lengths in the 1 1/16-mile Selene over the Polytrack.

Hard Not to Like, who upset the Marsua's River Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Jan. 5, has lost three straight since for trainer Michael Matz and Hillsbrook Farms. The 4-year-old Hard Spun  filly comes off a runner-up effort in the Gallorette Handicap (gr. IIIT) May 18 at Pimlico Race Course when ridden for the first time by John Velazquez, who has the return call.

Julie's Love found the 1 3/8-mile distance of the Sheepshead Bay (gr. IIT) May 25 a bit too long over a soft inner course at Belmont Park, finishing fourth. She returns to the distance of her runner-up finish by a head to Daisy Devine in the Cardinal Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs last November. Graham Motion trains the British-bred 5-year-old mare for owners Bobby Flay, Irving Cowan, and Barry Weisbord.

Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield sends out Irish-bred No Explaining, a grade III winner on the comeback trail after an absence of nearly two years. In her return start June 22, the 6-year-old Harlequin Ranches-owned mare nearly wired an allowance/optional claiming field at Woodbine June 22 going 1 1/8 miles.

$200,000 Dance Smartly Stakes Can-IIT, Race 6, 3:02 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Julie's Love (GB), A Garcia, 118, H G Motion
2. Hard Not to Like (ON), J R Velazquez, 120, M R Matz
3. Northern Passion (ON), S Bridgmohan, 118, M E Casse
4. Irish Mission (ON), A O Solis, 118, M R Frostad
5. Moment of Majesty (ON), J Rosario, 118, A McKeever
6. Distorted Legacy (KY), J V Bridgmohan, 116, B J Minshall
7. Moonlit Beauty (ON), D Moran, 118, J P LeBlanc Jr.
8. Coffee Clique (KY), L Contreras, 120, B A Lynch
9. No Explaining (IRE), J Stein, 116, R L Attfield
10. Solid Appeal (KY), J M Campbell, 122, R Baker
11. Peche Mobilee (ON), T Kabel, 116, J R Pottins