09/15/2012 4:44PM

Woodine: Spring Venture punches ticket to BC Juvenile Fillies Turf with Natalma win

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Michael Burns
Spring Venture, with Patrick Husbands up, wins the Grade 2 Natalma Stakes at Woodbine by 1 3/4 lengths.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Favored Spring Venture won the $262,900 Natalma Stakes comfortably at Woodbine on Saturday over another Mark Casse-trained 2-year-old filly, Spring in the Air.

Spring Venture was rank early while racing three wide at the rear of the first flight in the one-mile turf event. Shenandoah Lady and Coconut Shrimp dueled up front over the yielding ground until about the eighth pole, where Spring Venture found room before kicking away to a 1 3/4-length score, in 1:37.27.

“All the way down the backside, my filly wanted the lead,” said Patrick Husbands, who rode Spring Venture. “I guzzled her back, took a good hold of her, and finally got her to back off, and she relaxed. She loves the turf. She showed that she was the best today.”

Spring in the Air took the overland route from 11th to finish a neck in front of a closing Nancy O, who finished another neck in front of Kitten’s Dumplings. Coconut Shrimp edged out Shenandoah Lady for fifth in the 14-horse field.

The Grade 2 Natalma is a Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In event, providing the winner with a fees-paid berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and a $10,000 travel stipend. Spring Venture stamped herself as a contender for the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf, for which the Natalma has been a key prep in recent years.

Spring Venture returned $6.90, and the exacta involving the two daughters of Spring At Last paid $66.

Spring Venture collected $150,000 for Stoneway Farm and Gary Barber. She is unbeaten in two starts, with earnings of $183,540.