By Jeremy Balan
Sheep Pond Partners and Bradley Thoroughbreds’ Dacita will look to win her third straight race in her first trip to Canada Sept. 17 for the $300,000 Canadian Stakes (Can-IIT) at Woodbine, but she’ll have to deal with a local in top form.
The Chad Brown-trained daughter of Scat Daddy earned her first grade I last time out July 23 at Saratoga Race Course, where she won the Diana (gr. IT) at the 1 1/8-mile Canadian distance by a nose over Recepta. She also scored one start prior, when she took the 1 1/4-mile New York (gr. IIT) June 10 at Belmont Park.
The Chilean-bred mare also has the distinction of being the last horse to defeat 2015 champion grass mare Tepin in last year’s Ketel One Ballston Spa (gr. IIT), which was Dacita’s U.S. debut after three group I victories in her native country. Tepin, of course, has gone on to win seven straight races since the head loss to Dacita in August of 2015 at Saratoga.
Little Red Feather Racing’s Midnight Miley, who has made her last nine starts at Woodbine, also enters with a two-race win streak, but both were on the synthetic main track at the Toronto racetrack.
Her last victory came in the seven-furlong Seaway (Can-III) Aug. 27, but her most impressive win came in the July 17 Ontario Matron (Can-III), when the Midnight Lute filly opened up a six-length lead early and went on to prevail by four lengths. Midnight Miley, now trained by Julia Carey, hasn’t won on turf at Woodbine in two starts, however, and her only grass victory came back in April of 2015 at Golden Gate Fields, when she was under the care of trainer Steve Sherman.
An entrant with plenty of success on the Woodbine grass is defending Canadian winner and 2014 Canadian champion older female Strut the Course. The John Unger Strut the Stage homebred hasn’t won a stakes in 2016, but hasn’t been far off, with placings in the Nassau (Can-IIT) and Dance Smartly (Can-IIT) for trainer Barbara Minshall.
Other graded or group winners in the field include Faufiler, who took the July 9 Modesty Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Arlington International Racecourse; European import Steip Amach, the May 8 Amethyst Stakes (Ire-III) winner who will make her North American debut; and Rainha Da Bateria, third by a head to Dacita in the Diana and the victress of the 2014 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine Stakes (gr. IIIT).
Stakes winner Goodyearforroses, who has won by open lengths in her last two starts at Woodbine, completes the field.
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