Updated on 09/18/2011 12:30AM

Ambitious Cat takes first stakes

Michael Burns
Ambitious Cat wins the Grade 2 Dance Smartly on Saturday at Woodbine.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Ambitious Cat earned the Sovereign Award for Canadian champion turf female last year, but never won a stakes until she captured the Grade 2 on Saturday at Woodbine.

Ambitious Cat raced three lengths off a slow pace under Todd Kabel in the nine-furlong grass race. Favored Noble Stella set moderate fractions, and was joined by Ozone Bere to her inside and Ambitious Cat to her outside at the top of the stretch.

Ambitious Cat assumed control at the quarter pole, then held off 26-1 shot Elle Runaway in the final furlong to prevail by 2 1/4 lengths. Kabul came from last in the six-horse field to be third, as Ozone Bere and Noble Stella both faded to finish fourth and fifth, respectively.

"She's been a perennial bridesmaid, but she finally made it to first," said Bob Krembil, who campaigns Ambitious Cat with son Mark as Chiefswood Stable. "When I saw her go to the lead so quickly in the stretch, I was wondering if Todd knew what he was doing, but he knew exactly what he was doing. He gave her a good ride."

Over a course labeled good, Ambitious Cat covered the distance in 1:49.81 for trainer Eric Coatrieux. She banked $180,000 of the $305,900 purse.

Toronto Cup: French Beret scores

Kabel swept both stakes on Saturday's card when he guided French Beret to victory in the $150,800 Toronto Cup for 3-year-olds.

French Beret split horses early in the stretch and won by a half-length, completing 1 1/8 miles on the turf in 1:51.03. Moka Jumbie, who stumbled badly at the break, was second, and Head Chopper finished third in the seven-horse field. Nergal was scratched.

French Beret returned $5.20 as the favorite, earning $90,000 for Sam-Son Farm and trainer Mark Frostad in his first stakes score.