Skymarc Farm's Madeira Mist and jockey Patrick Husbands outfought First Quarter and Na Somsanith in the final jumps to win a thrilling renewal of the $171,750 Dance Smartly Stakes (Can-III) by a scant nostril Saturday at Woodbine.
At the finish of the 1 1/8-mile turf stake for fillies and mares, timed in 1:48.05, the Christophe Clement-trained Irish-bred 4-year-old outnodded longshot First Quarter to win her second career stakes race. Byzantine wound up third, a length behind and only a half-length in front of fourth-place finisher Diadella. Six horses appeared to have a shot at top prize in the last furlong.
The pacesetter and 9-5 favourite Chopinina, last year's Sovereign Award winner, took the field through six furlongs in a sizzling 1:09.50 and, after putting away Ginger Gold and Five Fishes, turned into the stretch with a short advantage.
However, that's when the cavalry charge began. A troubled First Quarter, in tight between horses, waited for an opening, when Strait From Texas came barreling down the middle of the track to poke a head in front, while being shadowed by Diadella on the far outside.
The New York invader Madeira Mist managed to save ground the entire way. The bay daughter of Grant Lodge eventually sneaked through on the rail, inside of Chopinina, in the last sixteenth, took a short lead, then repelled another lunge from the Jim Day–trained First Quarter at the wire.
"I knew the photo was close. She ran an honest race," said Husbands. "I was happy with our position down the backside. About five furlongs out, she jumped to her left lead. I put her back on her right lead, but about one stride later, she was back on her left lead. I left her on her left lead because I didn't want to get into a fight with her."
It was only the second start of the season for Madeira Mist, who came to Woodbine off a third-place finish in an allowance contest May 15 at Belmont Park. With the winning purse of $103,050, she almost doubled her bankroll to $218,083.
The Dance Smartly had one early defection from the initial field of 11, as Stronach Stable's Hot Talent was a morning scratch.
Sent postward the fifth choice at 8-1, Madeira Mist paid $18.90, $9.00 and $6.20 across the board, combining with First Quarter ($24.10, $12.30) for a $489 exacta. Byzantine ($5.60) completed a trifecta that returned a whopping $8,581.00.