Tanaka's Noble Stella Takes Dance Smartly

(from Woodbine reports)
Well-traveled Noble Stella made her second start in Canada a winning one when the Gary Tanaka-owned 4-year-old captured Saturday's $340,800 Dance Smartly Stakes (Can-III) at Woodbine.

Jockey Emile Ramsammy, in the irons of the daughter of Monsun for the first time, delivered a patient ride in the 1 1/8-mile event for fillies and mares. He settled his filly off the pace before unleashing a perfectly timed bid aboard the 10-1 outsider in mid-stretch.

Another longshot, 23-1 Pandora's Secret, led the seven-horse field through slow opening splits, cutting a quarter-mile in :24.93 and a half in :48.74. Mona Rose, last year's Dance Smartly winner, sat just outside of her rival, while Juliet's Kiss and Mity Dancer toiled just in behind the pacesetters.

Ramsammy roused Noble Stella into contention as the leaders began to weaken down the lane, and the German-bred responded, keeping a fast-closing Classic Stamp, who had finished third in last year's Dance Smartly, a length behind in a race timed in 1:49.95 over a firm turf.

It was the first win for the dark bay since October of 2004, when she captured a 1 1/2-mile allowance event in Italy.

"She ran a good race last time and she got into some trouble," said Ramsammy, referring to a sixth-place finish in the Nassau Stakes (Can-II) on June 4.

It was the third Dance Smartly victory for trainer Roger Attfield, who previously won with Triple Wow in 1987 and Sweetest Thing in 2002.

"When we first got her, she had traveled from Italy to race in New York and she was very light," said Attfield, who took over the care of Noble Stella last year. "She's a very narrow, slim filly. It took us all winter to get her the way we wanted her to look.

"I wanted to try and shorten her back. Her last race wasn't a bad one at all. I felt that she could run at a mile and a sixteenth or a mile and an eighth, so that's why I entered her for this race."

It was the fourth win from 14 career starts for Noble Stella, whose bankroll now stands at $294,829, after collecting $197,100 for the victory.

She paid $22.00, $8.60, and $5.70, combining with Classic Stamp ($5.00, $4.70) for a $102.80 exacta. Juliet's Kiss ($4.10) held for third, completing a $615.10 trifecta.

The 3-2 favorite Mona Rose finished fifth.

(Chart, Equibase)

Courtlandt Farms' T.D. Vance scored one for the visitors as the Maryland-based 3-year-old seized control in mid-stretch and never looked back to capture the $161,250 Toronto Cup Stakes, the complement feature on Saturday's card of racing at Woodbine.

The son of Rahy, one of the three American invaders for the 1 1/8-mile turf test, was a 1 ½-length winner in 1:51.39.

Bestowed, also based in Maryland, crossed the wire second, but was disqualified for interfering with local Area Limits in the stretch, and placed third. Area Limits, a 14-1 longshot, was the put-up runner-up.

Chatham Strait, the third U.S. raider, was fourth, while odds-on favorite, Charlie Barley Stakes winner Gamblers Slew, was fifth.

T.D. Vance sat second behind Gamblers Slew for much of the nine furlongs, but took the lead at the eighth pole and kept a strong stride to the wire for jockey Todd Kabel and trainer Graham Motion.

The bay colt has competed at six different racetracks, quite a feat considering the Toronto Cup was only his sixth career start. He collected $96,750 for the win, raising his lifetime earnings to $155,160 with three wins and one second.

T.D. Vance paid $20.40, $10.10, $3.80 across the board and combined with Area Limits ($11.30, $3.50) for the $116.10 longshot exacta. Bestowed, ridden by Patrick Husbands, paid $2.90 to show.

(Chart, Equibase)