07/05/2015 3:50PM

Strut the Course makes late move to win Dance Smartly

Michael Burns
Strut the Course wins the Dance Smartly Stakes on Sunday at Woodbine.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Strut the Course made a three-wide move from off the pace under jockey Luis Contreras and held off a charging Watsdachances in the late going to capture the Grade 2, $226,000 Dance Smartly Stakes by a head at Woodbine.

Smartyfly, with Solid Appeal applying pressure to her outside, took the field through slow opening fractions of 25.11 seconds for the opening quarter and 49.45 for the opening half-mile.

Strut the Course sat in the pocket along the rail and made a three-wide bid for the lead at the top of the stretch, wearing down Solid Appeal in the final sixteenth before holding off the even-money favorite Watsdachances, who made a furious rally from last. Solid Appeal, the winner of this race last year, hung on for third. The final time was 1:45.41 over about 1 1/8 miles.

“She broke really sharp,” Contreras said. “My filly was trying to lay in a little bit in the stretch, but we got it done.”

It was the second graded stakes triumph for Strut the Course, who won the Grade 3 Maple Leaf Stakes on Polytrack last November. She banked $144,000 for trainer Barb Minshall and owner-breeder John Unger.