08/15/2013 1:43PM

Woodbine: Ontario Colleen’s mile distance a good fit for Overheard


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Overheard returns from a layoff fresh and ready for Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Ontario Colleen Stakes at Woodbine. The one-mile turf route for 3-year-old fillies also has lured the Grade 3 winner Coffee Clique among its nine entrants.

Overheard has hit the board in all seven of her outings, including a record of 2-1-1 from 4 starts on the grass. She evolved into a useful miler in the spring, when she ran second in the Grade 3 Appalachian at Keeneland, before ending up third in the Grade 3 Selene here on Polytrack.

Overheard cut back to 6 1/2 furlongs in the Alywow Stakes on the grass here June 9, and she rallied wide from the back of the pack to score by a nose.

“I thought it was too short for her, and she just got up in time,” trainer Malcolm Pierce said. “That was a hard race on her, because it was less than her best distance. I think a mile is a much better distance for her.”

Pierce said the summer break for Overheard was by design.

“We did it on purpose, to gear her up for a fall campaign,” Pierce explained. “There really wasn’t much for her, unless she ran with older mares. We decided to keep her with straight 3-year-old fillies for now. She’s in good order. She hasn’t missed a beat.”

Trainer Brian Lynch ran Coffee Clique four times over the winter at Gulfstream, after she won a tough maiden special at first asking here Dec. 2. Her three turf efforts in Florida were all good, but she didn’t land her first stakes until she came home to take the Selene in May.

Coffee Clique was a front-running fourth against older opposition on the grass in the Grade 2 Dance Smartly here July 7.

“I thought it was a gallant effort,” Lynch said. “Unfortunately, she inherited the lead, which isn’t her best running style. Hard Not to Like pressed her, and she never really got a breather. She got swamped late. Tactically, I think she’s better when she’s ridden from off the pace.”

Lynch said Coffee Clique was none the worse for wear exiting the nine-furlong Dance Smartly.

“She’s been given a freshening and is back with her own age group,” Lynch said. “She’s a very talented filly at a mile.”

The list of secondary contenders is headed by Leigh Court and Sky Treasure, who are both trying the turf for the first time. She’s Popular has been idle since she graduated in a seven-furlong maiden special on the turf June 29.