Proud Heiress, rallying gamely seven paths wide for jockey Chantal Sutherland, nosed odds-on choice Tribal Belle at the wire in the $151,785 Whimsical Stakes (gr. III) (VIDEO), the first graded stakes of Woodbine's 2010 season April 18.
The winning 6-year-old daughter of Broken Vow was the only starter in the field of seven older fillies and mares to have raced this year. Sutherland, substituting for jockey Rodney Prescott, brought Proud Heiress home in a solid 1:09.71 over the Polytrack at six furlongs.
Proud Heiress, a belated third in the 2009 Whimsical, earned her first graded stakes win for trainer Wayne Mogge and owner Michael Cavey.
Dancing Allstar, the defending Whimsical champion, set a hot early pace, carving fractions of :21.84 and :44.84 before being collared by Silver Z at the top of the stretch.
Proud Heiress, breaking from the rail, was content to drop back to the rear of the field, where she remained until fanning out leaving the turn. She was far out on the track through the lane as Silver Z and Omar Moreno opened up a two-length lead on Tribal Belle.
But Silver Z, after pressing the early lead, could not contain Proud Heiress and Tribal Belle late. The latter, ridden by Jim McAleney, fired when engaged by Proud Heiress near the sixteenth pole and those two swept past Silver Z in deep stretch, with Proud Heiress getting up just in time. Silver Z lost by a half-length.
Tribal Belle, Canada's champion female sprinter of 2009, made her first appearance since winning Woodbine's Bessarabian Stakes Nov. 22. She was the 123-pound high weight in the Whimsical and spotted the winner seven pounds.
Proud Heiress scored her second stakes win of the year after taking the Wishing Well over Polytrack at Turfway Park Jan. 9. The synthetic track specialist returned to Turfway March 27 when she lost the Queen Stakes by a nose. The chestnut mare scored her first win in three tries at Woodbine.
Now a five-time winner from 17 starts, Proud Heiress boosted her earnings to $282,107 with the winning share of $88,821.
"She's getting better with age," said Mogge. "The race set up perfectly."
Out of the Dr. Carter mare Raise a Carter, Proud Heiress was bred in Kentucky by Respite Farm.
Sent off as the second choice, Proud Heiress paid $9.60, $3.40 and $3.40 while keying a $25 exacta.
Tribal Belle, who won five of six starts in her Sovereign Award-winning campaign, returned $2.80 and $2.40 in her first start for trainer Daniel O'Callaghan. The Canvasback Farms homebred was previously trained by Terry Jordan.
Silver Z, who ran second to Tribal Belle in the Bessarabian in her most recent race, was $4.10 to show.
Glitter Rox was 4 1/2 lengths back in fourth. Then came She's the Umpire, Authenicat and Dancing Allstar.