Wildcat Marie, making her seasonal debut, spoiled the return of champion Canadian sprinter Indian Apple Is at Woodbine April 23 when she led from gate to wire in the $162,933 Whimsical Stakes (Can-III) on the Polytrack (VIDEO).
She took the six-furlong event by 1 1/4 lengths in a time of 1:09.11 for her third consecutive victory.
The second choice in the field of six older fillies and mares, Wildcat Marie won for the sixth time in her past seven starts, all at Woodbine. She was making her stakes bow in the Whimsical for trainer Martin Drexler, who claimed the 4-year-old daughter of Wildcat Heir for $40,000 last August from trainer Brian Lynch.
Cloverdale Farms II and Brent Fernung bred Wildcat Marie, who is out of the Wild Rush mare in Miss Rachel Marie, in Florida. The chestnut filly sold for $50,000 at the Ocala Breeders Sale in April 2009.
With Tyler Pizarro in the saddle, Wildcat Marie gunned for the lead from the rail while breaking outward, outfought 15-1 shot Shukriya early, and opened up by 1 1/2 lengths while carving swift quarter-mile fractions of :22.39 and :44.53.
Wildcat Marie, the 5-2 second choice, drew clear by two lengths mid-stretch as Ariana D and Omar Moreno took up the chase. The determined winner came home under steady handling.
"Marty and I talked at the beginning and we knew she’d break sharply,” said Pizarro, who rode the filly for the second time. “She usually does and we just wanted to make sure she had enough turning for home.”
Ariana D was 3 1/2 lengths clear in second with favored Indian Apple Is, who fell out to last on the turn, rallying to get up for third with Luis Contreras aboard. Indian Apple Is, making her first appearance since Nov. 21 for trainer Robert Tiller, was voted the 2010 Sovereign Award as Canada's top female sprinter after taking the Sweet Briar Too and Ontario Fashion stakes.
Owned by Joseph Baldesarra and partners, Wildcat Marie had also been away for some time since winning an optional claiming allowance Dec. 4.
"She’s a win machine,” said Drexler. “She’s overcome some issues. I wasn’t quite sure if she was tight enough. I actually tried to avoid this spot, but the owners wanted to go in. I’ll give them the credit for being in here. Sometimes you’ve got take a shot.”
Never worse than third in 10 lifetime starts, she has six wins and lifetime earnings of $263,053 with the winning Whimsical purse of $94,302.
Wildcat Marie carried 119 pounds and paid $7.50, $4.40 and $2.90 and topped a $33.10 exacta. Ariana D, winner of Woodbine's Bessarabian Stakes to conclude her 2010 campaign in her first start for trainer Laurie Silvera, returned $4.40 and $2.70. Indian Apple Is, the 121-pound top weight, was $2.80 to show.
Shukriya was a head farther back in fourth, followed by Hooh Why and Waccamaw.