Sam-Son Farm's Strike Softly won her third consecutive race while taking the CAN$336,700 Nassau Stakes (Can-II) (VIDEO) Saturday at Woodbine over a firm E.P. Taylor Turf Course.
Strike Softly, the 3-5 favorite under Todd Kabel, swung outside of the leaders mid-stretch and outsprinted game U.S. invader May Night to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Essential Edge wound up third, a neck father back. The running time was a quick 1:39.90 for 1 1/16 miles.
For trainer Mark Frostad, it was his third Nassau victory, after saddling Colorful Vices in 1998 and Only To You in 2001, both for Sam-Son. It was Sam-Son's sixth Nassau crown.
Murani and Essential Edge dueled through all the early fractions, with the first quarter in :24.35, the half in :46.94. As the field bunched up around the far turn, Kabel tucked his filly in behind in third, steadying briefly while shadowing the leaders.
At the top of the stretch, after six furlongs was reached in 1:10.61, Murani's narrow margin had dissipated, as she was challenged by Essential Edge along the rail and Strike Softly to her outside. Kabel went wide and put Strike Softly into a drive while Robert Landry and May Night were able to mount a charge on the far outside to challenge. But Strike Softly, a 4-year-old Smart Strike filly, prevailed.
Strike Softly's other recent victories came in the Jammed Lovely last November and the George C. Hendrie Stakes (Can-III) on May 13. "I had her nice and settled. She was all heart today."
Frostad, who is readying Quiet Jungle for a date in the $500,000 Labatt Woodbine Oaks on June 10 at the Toronto oval, was pleased with the performance of the lifetime winner of six races from 12 starts.
"She's an exceptional filly," praised Frostad. "She's able to go on 'Poly', on dirt, on turf. It's a great thrill."
Added Tammy-Samuel Balaz, of Sam-Son Farm, "I think she's just such a professional filly. She sure gave us excitement today."
Strike Softly returned $3.20, $2.50 and $2.10, combining with May Night ($6.30, $4.40) for a $26.30 exacta. Essential Edge ($4) capped a trifecta worth $123.70. Elle Runaway finished fourth, followed by Be Envied, Virginia Plain, Murani and Fiery Dancer.