Sam-Son Farm homebred Strike Softly capitalized on fast fractions to win Sunday’s CAN$186,700 Hendrie Stakes (Can-III) (VIDEO) by four lengths at Woodbine.
For the Mark Frostad trainee, her fourth career stakes victory came in her first start as a 4-year-old. The filly’s time for 6 1/2 furlongs was 1:16.20.
“She’s been working well,” said Frostad. “We thought we were going to run her at Keeneland, but decided she wasn’t quite ready and gave her a few more works. She ran a great race today. I didn’t know that she was dead-tight today, but she showed that she was pretty tight.”
The chestnut daughter of Smart Strike settled about 5 1/2 lengths behind strong fractions (:22.18 and :44.65) set by 3-5 favorite Mary Delaney and Summer Girlfriend. Saving ground around the turn and taking advantage of a gaping opening on the inside, Strike Softly closed in on the leading pair.
Under Todd Kabel, Strike Softly seized command inside the eighth-pole, streaking by an unresponsive Mary Delaney, who stayed on to finish second. Bosskiri finished third.
“I had a beautiful trip,” said Kabel. “They were really humming up front. I just sat on my filly until I called on her. “Turning for home, I had every option going for me. If they did come down, I could swing out. She was all there for me today.”
Kabel has ridden Strike Softly in all 11 of her career starts. “She always gives 110 per cent. She’s an unbelievable filly and I’m really looking forward to this year with her.”
The Hendrie prize, worth CAN$120,000, was the second score of the day for owner Tammy Samuel-Balaz.
“She’s a very versatile filly,” said Samuel-Balaz. “She’s done everything that we’ve asked of her. She’s grown up a lot over the winter. She’s a grand looking filly this year. It’s great to have her back in action this year.”
Frostad said the Hendrie was a good fit for the filly because of how well she performed in the Jammed Lovely Stakes, also on Polytrack, late in 2006.
“Her last race here last year, seven furlongs on the Polytrack, was probably her best race of the year. So, that’s why we came back in this race. We still have options on the turf.”
Strike Softly, who is now 5-for-11, also won two stakes on the turf in 2006, the Carotene at 1 1/8 miles and the Ontario Damsel at 6 1/2 furlongs.
Sam-Son, Frostad and Kabel also won last year’s Hendrie with High Button Shoes.
Strike Softly returned $14.30, $5.00 and $3.60, combining with Mary Delaney ($2.50, $2.50) for a $39.90 exacta. Bosskiri ($6.90) rounded out a trifecta worth $367.20.
Hide and Chic finished fourth, followed by Summer Girlfriend, Fiery Dancer, The Niagara Queen and Seductively.