Leigh Court dominated from start to finish in Sunday’s $125,750 Duchess Stakes, at Woodbine.
Leigh Court, a Eugene Melnyk homebred trained by Josie Carroll, came into the seven furlong ‘Poly’ stake off a narrow defeat to Duchess rival Sky Treasure, but was full of run for rider Gary Boulanger when asked in Sunday’s stake.
Goldstryke Glory blasted out of the gate for Jesse Campbell, but Boulanger and Leigh Court took command out of the chute notching an opening quarter in :23.75.
Leigh Court set a relaxed pace into the turn marking a quarter in :46.61 and kicked on down the lane with plenty in reserve to score a 5 1/2-length win. Captivating Dancer rallied for place money over Sky Treasure. Leigh Court stopped the clock in 1:22.95.
The victory marked the first Woodbine stakes score for Boulanger, in the midst of a remarkable return to riding, since he piloted Elektraline to victory in the 2001 edition of the Grade 3 Bessarabian Stakes.
“I’m very blessed that I made it back and I look forward to every horse I ride,” said Boulanger. “I feel great, I’m healthy and I love what I do.”
Boulanger noted the key to the win was allowing Leigh Court to settle.
“She’s always been really fast, the big thing with her was getting her to relax and not be too aggressive,” said Boulanger. “She didn’t break super great, but I sat pretty quiet on her and she loped to the lead. I nursed her best I could and she finished well”
Leigh Court banked $75,000 in victory, while improving her record to 3-2-0 from six career starts.
She returned $9.10, $5.20 and $2.80, pairing with Captivating Dancer ($7, $3.20) for an $80.20 (3-5) exactor. A 3-5-2 (Sky Treasure, $2.10 to show) triactor was worth $178.40.