Ambitious Cat, last year's Sovereign Award winner as Canada's top female turf horse, captured her first stakes race on Saturday in the $300,000 Dance Smartly (Can-II) at Woodbine. Jockey Todd Kabel, aboard the daughter of Storm Cat for the first time, delivered a strong ride in the 1 1/8-mile race, settling his filly off the pace before unleashing a perfectly-timed bid aboard the Chiefswood Stable star.Multiple stakes winner Noble Stella, who won last year's Dance Smartly, led the six-horse field through opening splits of :24.75 and a half in :48.19. Winds of Time and Ozone Bere sat outside of their rival, while Ambitious Cat was just in behind the leading trio.Kabel roused his mare into contention as the field straightened for home, and the Kentucky-bred responded, keeping 26-1 Elle Runaway, who took last year's Ontario Colleen Stakes at the Toronto oval, 2 1/4 lengths behind in a race timed in 1:49.81 over a "good" turf.Kabul rallied for third.It was the first win for the Eric Coatrieux-trained bay since Aug. 27 when she captured a 1 1/16-mile allowance event at Woodbine."She's been the perennial bridesmaid," said Robert Krembil of Chiefswood. "But finally she made it – good for her. When I saw her go to the lead so quickly in the stretch, I was worried. I thought, 'Todd, do you know what you're doing?' He knew exactly what he was doing. We're very happy."Ambitious Cat is being pointed towards the Canadian Stakes (Can-II) Sept. 17 at Woodbine, a race in which she finished second last year.
"We'll see how she comes out of this," said Krembil. "The Canadian is probably next."It was the fifth win from 18 career starts for Ambitious Cat, whose bankroll now stands at $727,305, after collecting $180,000 for the victory.She paid $6.30, $3.70, and $3.20, combining with Elle Runaway ($12, $6.70) for a $121.40 exacta. Kabul ($5.80) was third, completing a $545.70 trifecta. Favored Noble Stella finished fifth.(Chart, Equibase)