Coffee Clique wins the Selene Stakes.

Coffee Clique wins the Selene Stakes.

Michael Burns

Coffee Clique Brews Up Stellar Selene Score

Returning to Woodbine for trainer Brian Lynch, she wins by four lengths on Polytrack.

Coffee Clique swept past runaway pacesetter Leigh Court in upper stretch and bounded to an easy four-length win over a good group of 3-year-old fillies in the $152,019 Selene (Can-III) May 19, collecting her first stakes tally at Woodbine.

Amerman Racing's Kentucky homebred daughter of Medaglia d'Oro  improved to 2-for-2 over Woodbine's Polytrack for trainer Brian Lynch while sent off as the 5-2 second choice in the field of seven. Coffee Clique won over the surface in her maiden debut Dec. 2.

Coffee Clique had her fitness rewarded in the 1 1/16-mile Selene, returning to Canada after four races at Gulfstream Park to begin the year. She was most recently placed second in the one-mile Secret Grace Stakes on turf March 31. In her lone workout at Woodbine since returning, the bay filly breezed a quick five furlongs in 1:00 1/5 May 3.

Luis Contreras was aboard Coffee Clique, who was timed in 1:43.63 in the Selene. Nipissing, the 9-5 favorite, finished second, edging Overheard in third.

Coffee Clique raced toward the rear of the pack early as Leigh Court took the lead over Thats Our Princess and opened up a huge advantage. Leigh Court led by as many as 10 lengths on the backstretch while clipping off brisk quarter mile fractions of :23.24, :46.66, and 1:11.48.

Leigh Court was weakening as she reached the quarter pole and Coffee Clique, who was hustled into second on the far turn, and Overheard swept past her shortly after the field turned for home. Coffee Clique took command through the lane under steady handling by Contreras as Nipissing, ridden by Steve Bahen, and Overheard, with Eurico Da Silva aboard, battled for second late.

Contreras said he wasn't too concerned about the runaway pacesetter in the early stages of the Selene.

"I got a perfect trip," he said. "I knew there was crazy speed in the race, but I just tried to relax and save my horse until the end. I had a lot of horse and she gave me everything."

Nipissing, who was using the Selene as a prep for the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks June 9, got up for second by a neck over Overheard. Spring Venture was fourth, followed by Leigh Court, Fun in D' Sun, and Thats Our Princess. Takeyourbreathaway was a veterinarian's scratch.

Coffee Clique, out of the Amermans' winning Royal Academy mare Miss Chapin, carried 117 pounds, seven fewer than the multiple stakes winners Nipissing and and Spring Venture. She extended her earnings to $166,300 on a record of three wins and a second from six starts.

"She's a great little filly, very honest," said Lynch. "Luis got to work her during the week as she's not long up from Keeneland. I think he was very confident after that work and rode her very nicely today. She's very versatile, looks like the 'Poly' and the turf...that's her number."

Coffee Clique paid $7.60, $3.60, and $2.70 while keying a $21.50 exacta with Nipissing, who returned $3.20 and $2.50. Overheard paid $3 to show.

The conditioner said he hopes Coffee Clique will have a lucrative campaign at Woodbine.

"I didn't want to over-race her (in Florida)," said Lynch. "It's very tempting when you have a three-year-old filly to get creative down there, but we feel like the program up here for three-year-olds is great and we want to save her for that and have a fresh horse."