CANADIAN STAKES | PURSE: $323,217 | 3-YEAR-OLDS & UP | GRADE 2 | ABOUT 1 1/8 MILES (TURF)
Jockey Davey Moran landed a fortunate pick-up mount aboard English shipper Barefoot Lady in Sunday's Grade 2, $323,217 Canadian Stakes at Woodbine, and delivered a perfect ride to land the spoils. Trained by Richard Fahey for Mrs. H. Steel, the 7-1 chance saved ground while tracking the pace, angled out for the drive, and rolled to an emphatic 1 1/2-length victory over All Star Heart.
Barefoot Lady was originally supposed to be ridden by Jamie Spencer, but connections had to scramble for a replacement who could make the 113-pound weight assignment, and Moran was available. The four-year-old daughter of Footstepsinthesand had won only once since her 14-1 upset in the Group 3 Nell Gwyn in April 2011, battling to a neck decision in the July 27 Lyric Stakes at York. But the bay has also turned in some creditable efforts in tough company, and was most recently a solid fourth versus males in the Group 3 Strensall Stakes, also at York, on August 24.
Laughing used her tactical speed to go to the fore in the Canadian, carving out splits of :24 3/5 and :48 2/5 on the good turf. Stars to Shine prompted in second, while Smart Sting stalked on the outside. Barefoot Lady, who bobbled at the break, recovered to draft behind the leader along the inside. All Star Heart was reserved in fifth, and Kapitale, the 5-2 favorite, was a little further back.
Turning into the stretch, Stars to Shine put away Laughing and set sail for home. But Barefoot Lady had switched off the fence and had already begun a strong advance. She swooped past Stars to Shine in short order and opened up with authority. All Star Heart closed from off the pace, but the winner was long gone and well on her way to her biggest career victory.
Barefoot Lady completed about 1 1/8 grassy miles in 1:45 4/5 and repaid her loyalists with $16.40, $8.40 and $5.50.
"I had a great trip," Moran said. "I just moved her out and it was all over from there. She finished strong to the wire, and she had it in the bank.
"I was happy I was behind [jockey] Luis [Contreras, aboard Laughing]. I thought he was the horse to bring me into the race, anyway. Then, I just got her out right on the turn and from there it was over, really."
Assistant trainer Allison Daniel admitted that the late jockey change was slightly unnerving.
"Just a little bit," Daniel said. "It worked out perfectly, to be honest. Davey is proven on the turf. He gave a great ride on the German horse the other day [Lacara, winner of Friday's 7TH race] and did the same job today."
Another three-quarters of a length adrift in third came Stars to Shine. Kapitale edged Indian Pond for fourth, and Smart Sting, Moment of Majesty, Laughing and Shimmering Moment rounded out the order under the wire.
Barefoot Lady's scorecard now stands at 19-5-2-3, $455,154. After winning her first two starts as a juvenile in 2010, Barefoot Lady placed in the Group 3 Firth of Clyde and in the Rockingham Stakes. She opened her sophomore season with a surprising win in the Nell Gwyn, but would soon find life more difficult. Fifth in the Group 1 One Thousand Guineas, Barefoot Lady just missed in the Group 3 Musidora Stakes, finished third in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes, and failed to crack the top three in her remaining 2011 starts.
Through her first seven outings of 2012, Barefoot Lady had hit the board just twice -- in her aforementioned Lyric win and a third in the Group 3 Princess Elizabeth on June 1 at Epsom. Four times she checked in a creditable fourth, however, most notably in the Group 2 Middleton and Group 2 Windsor Forest as well as the Strensall.
Bred by Arbawny Ventures 2000uc in Ireland, Barefoot Lady was led out unsold after fetching only $15,943 as a Tattersalls October yearling. She was produced by the stakes-winning Tenby mare Lady Angharad and hails from the family of Group 2 victor Homing.
Ironically, in view of her near-miss in the 2011 Musidora, Barefoot Lady's seventh dam is none other than that English champion filly of 1949.
Daniel confirmed that Barefoot Lady would aim for the Grade 1, $1 million E.P. Taylor Stakes back at Woodbine October 14.