Points of Grace became a graded stakes winner when she captured the $300,000 Dance Smartly Stakes (Can-IIT) (VIDEO) on the Woodbine turf July 11.
The Malcolm Pierce trainee dueled outside of Ginger Brew, increasing her lead from a head at the half-mile mark to a length at the three-quarters call, going on to win by 2 1/4 lengths under Luis Contreras.
Ginger Brew, winner of the 2008 Woodbine Oaks, was a game runner-up, while Mushka rallied to get third. Favored Callwood Dancer was fourth.
Points of Grace, a 4-year-old daughter of Point Given, traveled 1 1/8 miles over ‘good’ going in 1:45.51, after early fractions of :24.12, :47.03, and 1:10.24.
The Live Oak Plantation color-bearer wouldn’t be denied as her rivals attempted to reel her in down the long E.P. Taylor Turf Course.
“I was happy where she was sitting,” said Pierce. “(Contreras) actually was able to give her a little breather when Ginger Brew went to the lead there for a little part. They sure picked it up. After a half-mile they got a little quicker.”
Pierce felt Points of Grace, who finished fourth in the May 30 Nassau Stakes (Can-II), had a shot at taking all the spoils.
“Today, I thought there wasn’t much speed in here. I told Luis to nurse her along the best you can and save what you can for the end.”
For Contreras, the Dance Smartly represented his initial added-money triumph in Canada.
“It’s my first stakes win in Canada,” he noted. “I’d like to thank Malcolm Pierce for giving me the opportunity. It feels great.”
Points of Grace is now a five-time winner, along with two seconds, from eight starts. She won her career bow last November at Woodbine, a five-length romp in a six-furlong Polytrack race.
She returned $28.10, $12.50, and $5.70, combining with Ginger Brew ($4.90, $3.40) for a $150.50 exacta. Mushka ($2.90) completed a $787.50 trifecta.