11/01/2014 8:15PM

Strut the Course solidifies Sovereign Award credentials

Michael Burns
Strut the Course, ridden by Luis Contreras, likely clinched champion older female honors in Canada by winning the Maple Leaf Stakes.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario—Strut the Course  probably locked up the Sovereign Award for this year’s champion older female in Canada with an impressive score in the Grade 3, $208,300 Maple Leaf Stakes at Woodbine on Saturday.

Strut the Course ($5.80) raced towards the rear of the pack on backstretch of the 10-furlong route, while Moonlit Beauty set moderate fractions, with Julie’s Love in close proximity. Julie’s Love took control exiting the far turn, as Strut the Course emerged from traffic to hit the front nearing the eighth pole.

Strut the Course then drew away in the final furlong to prevail by five lengths over Lady of Gold, a 23-1 shipper trained by Graham Motion. Julie’s Love held on for third, and Llanarmon was along for fourth in the nine-horse field of fillies and mares.

The final time of 2:02.74 wasn’t all that far off the Polytrack record of 2:01.51, set by Delegation in 2013.

Luis Contreras rode Strut the Course for trainer Barb Minshall.

“She was so relaxed behind horses,” Contreras said. “I wasn’t worried at all. She just let me do anything I wanted.”

Strut the Course earned Ontario-sired and Ontario-bred bonuses, which totaled $54,000. She banked a total of $144,000 for owner/breeder John Unger.