Making her graded stakes debut, Toocleverforwords caught longshot Joanie's Catch mid-stretch and bounded home for a one–length victory in the $100,000 Stage Door Betty Handicap (gr. III) (VIDEO) on New Year’s Day at Calder Casino & Race Course.
It was the third consecutive win for Toocleverforwords, a 5-year-old daughter of Arch who won the Cinnamon Stakes at Calder Oct. 16 in her last start. The dark brown/bay mare is owned by Farnsworth Stables and trained by Marty Wolfson.
With Luis Saez aboard, Toocleverforwords stalked the early pace set by Even Road, racing in fourth through easy splits of :24.46, :49.29, and 1:14.80. Also up close were Amazing and 18-1 Joanie's Catch, who took over at the top of the lane under Javier Santiago and had a narrow advantage at the eighth pole.
But Toocleverforwords, who saved ground through three quarters and was third when they came off the turn, was swung out for her stretch drive and caught Joanie’s Catch approaching the sixteenth pole. She covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:47.39 over the fast dirt. Joanie’s Catch was 4 1/4 lengths in front of third-place Striking Dancer.
Toocleverforwords won for the fifth time in 15 starts. She notched three victories in 2010 including the final two starts of her campaign, both at Calder. Bred in Florida by Hermitage Farm and Walter Freeman, Toocleverforwords has earned $201,308.
“We bought her privately (after winning an allowance race at Belmont in May)," Wolfson said. "She was supposed to be a turf horse, but her dirt races were really good too. She hasn’t run for 2 1/2 months for no other reason than there just haven’t been any dirt races for her and I didn’t want to go back to turf. She’s by Arch and we watched what Blame (by Arch) did on dirt last year. We’ll look for something at Gulfstream for her next. She’s a really good filly.”
The winner paid $8.80, $4.80, and $3.80. The exacta (1-10) returned $138.80 and the trifecta (1-10-8) was worth $970.
Favored Funny Moon, sent off at 7-5, was never involved and finished last in the field of 11 fillies and mares.
Also on the Jan. 1 card at Calder were the Tropical Park Oaks and Derby for newly turned 3-year-olds on turf. In the $65,000 Oaks (VIDEO), Dynamic Holiday held off A Brilliant Idea by a nose under Julien Leparoux in her stakes debut. A homebred daughter of Augustin Stable by Harlan's Holiday, Dynamic Holiday covered 1 1/16 miles on the good turf in 1:43.89. Trained by Graham Motion, she paid $9, $4.40, and $3.40.
In the $100,00 Derby (VIDEO), West Point Thoroughbreds’ King Congie also scored in his stakes debut. With Javier Castellano in the irons for Tom Albertrani, the son of Badge of Silver overtook Private Prize in deep stretch to win by a half length.
King Congie, who broke his maiden on the Aqueduct turf last out, covered nine furlongs in 1:49.46 to remain unbeaten in two starts on turf. He paid $9, $4.80, and $3.