Acting Naughty had her consistency rewarded with her first stakes victory in the $149,689 Whimsical Stakes (Can-III) (VIDEO) at Woodbine April 28, coming from off the pace in her seasonal debut.
Tyler Pizarro guided Acting Naughty to a 14-1 upset by a head over 61-1 shot Starship Universe for trainer Donald MacRae and owner John Hillier. The winning 4-year-old filly, a $3,000 supplemental addition to the field, has won six of 16 lifetime starts while posting six seconds and a third in three seasons of competition.
Bred in Ontario by William D. Graham, the daughter of Offlee Wild out of the winning Langfuhr mare Mariaburg was a $14,486 purchase at auction in the 2010 Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society's September Canadian-bred yearling sale in Ontario.
The Whimsical, at six furlongs on Woodbine's Polytrack, was the first graded stakes event of the season at the Toronto-area track.
Acting Naughty, racing for the first time in nearly five months, took the lead in deep stretch from the weakening pacesetter Distracting and outlasted Starship Universe in a time of 1:09.76. Katie Get Excited finished third, while 2-1 favorite Sisterly Love was a no-factor eighth in the field of nine older fillies and mares.
"She's a model of consistency. Every time we lead her over, she runs well," said MacRae. "I did think she was a bit outclassed today, but she's improved from (age) 3 to 4. Today was a lot of fun."
Carrying 118 pounds, Acting Naughty paid $31.30, $13.90, and $6.80. She topped a $673.40 exacta with Starship Universe, one of three in the field from trainer Nick Gonzalez. Starship Universe returned a whopping $47.70 and $15.70. Katie Get Excited was making a one-week turnaround for trainer Ricky Griffith after finishing fifth in the Sugar Maple Stakes presented by CANTER Mid-Atlantic Stakes at Charles Town April 20. The 11-1 shot paid $7 to show and completed a $2 trifecta worth $7,296.30. A $1 superfecta with 9-2 Northern Passion fourth returned $11,143.80.
The victory, worth $88,515, boosted Acting Naughty's career bankroll to $305,718. The dark bay or brown filly was making her first start since running second to Whimsical rival Evil Kitten in an allowance race at Woodbine Dec. 9. Runner-up in Woodbine's Jammed Lovely Stakes prior to that, she had been working well for her return for MacRae. She turned in a bullet five-furlong move of 1:00 2/5 at Woodbine April 21, best of 93 that morning.
Second choice Distracting, making her Canadian debut for trainer Josie Carroll, took over from Silent Serenity after a :22.13 opening quarter mile and edged away to a one-length edge over Man Stuff and Starship Universe after a swift :44.99 half. Acting Naughty, racing mid-pack to the turn, was four or five paths wide into the stretch and made her bid as Starship Universe poked her head in front at the eighth pole.
Those two dueled to the wire with Acting Naughty proving best in a full drive for Pizarro. Starship Universe, ridden by Jesse Campbell in a game try, finished one length in front of Katie Get Excited and Justin Stein.
Pizarro said he was content to sit off the quick early pace.
"On paper, it looked like it was going to set up that way," said Pizarro, who was surprised Acting Naughty got away at such long odds. "My main concern was making sure she breaks good. She's usually a quirky filly and kind of hops out of there, but today she was on her game."
Northern Passion was fourth by three-quarters of a length, followed by Distracting, Evil Kitten, Man Stuff, Sisterly Love, and Silent Serenity.