Under a sly ride from Emma-Jayne Wilson, Howaboutrightnow, a dark bay daughter of Montbrook, eked out a narrow win in Saturday's $187,300 Maple Leaf Stakes for fillies and mares at Woodbine.Howaboutrightnow, bred and owned by Norm Casse and trained by his son Mark, came into the 1 1/4-mile Maple Leaf off back-to-back triumphs, both on Polytrack, including a six-length stunner at 1 1/16 miles at the Toronto oval on Oct. 21.In the Maple Leaf, Wilson took the Florida-bred to the front, cutting comfortable early fractions of :24.68, :49.05 and 1:14.49. As the seven-horse field turned for home, Silver Highlight, second choice on the toteboard, loomed a threat.But Howaboutrightnow dug in valiantly, crossing the wire a nose in front and stopping the timer in 2:07.66 on the Polytrack.Silver Highlight, the 2005 Wonder Where Stakes champion, was second, 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Ballroom Deputy, last year's Maple Leaf winner. Odds-on favorite Soul Search finished fourth."Going a little further, she was a little more gung-ho," said Wilson, who celebrated her eight stakes win on the campaign. "The last sixteenth of a mile was all heart. She was so tired.Mark Casse, who netted his ninth Woodbine stakes win in 2006, appreciated the effort of the 3-year-old dark bay, a winner of 4 of her 11 lifetime races."There was a question if she could go a mile and a quarter," the trainer said. "This was special. She was actually sold at the two-year-old sale and returned because she had some problems. But it's worked out nice."
Howaboutrightnow now has three wins, three seconds and one third from nine starts this year. Her career totals include four wins and purse earnings of (Can)$299,889.She paid $11.50, $6.70 and $4.80 and combined with Silver Highlight ($4.50, $3.80) for a $43.90 exacta. Ballroom Deputy ($5.20) rounded out the $259.40 trifecta.(Chart, Equibase)