Moonlit Promise made her season’s debut against stakes fillies a winning one in the $100,000 Sweet Briar Too Stakes on Sunday’s undercard at Woodbine Racetrack.
Jockey Gary Boulanger worked out a ground-saving trip aboard the four-year-old Josie Carroll trainee, who left from the outside post seven and was caught at the back on the outside early on. Boulanger then opted for the inside route and Moonlit Promise passed horses along the rail to haul down River Maid and Southern Ring in the 6-1/2 furlong Tapeta sprint for fillies and mares three years old and up.
“She’s a pretty good filly and she broke well,” said Boulanger. “I was just kind of letting her tell me what the pace was – I thought it was pretty hot up there – and biding my time. A couple guys were kind of keeping me wide and no one was wanting to tuck in so at the three and a half pole I said, ‘I gotta go inside and save some ground here if I’m going to run these guys down.’ I dove inside and here she came with a big run. A tremendous filly. Josie’s done a great job getting her ready and her team is a great team. I’m just grateful I get to ride something like this.”
Southern Ring set opening fractions of :22.46 and :45 flat with Sky My Sky and Veaisha pressing to her outside followed by a gap of four lengths to the rest of the field. Ahead of the second grouping, River Maid eventually reeled in Southern Ring with Veaisha rallying down the lane, but Moonlit Promise shot through inside to score the victory in 1:15.66.
Moonlit Promise earned three wins and two seconds in six starts while earning $142,311 in 2016. The Malibu Moon-Smart Surprise filly was victorious in the La Lorgnette Stakes last September at Woodbine
and ended her season competing in the Maple Leaf Stakes (Gr. 3) on November 5.
“I think it was a tough thing for this filly to do,” said Carroll of facing stakes competition in her return race, “but I think she’s just a good filly and I thought he [Boulanger] rode a smart race on her.
“We did have a few setbacks over the winter and then she started to come around. I’ll tell you, the difference between getting horses like this back is patient owners,” said Carroll of Moonlit Promise’s Kentucky-based owner and breeder Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings Inc.
Sent postward at odds of 5-1, Moonlit Promise paid $13.40, $7.20 and $4.50. She combined with River Maid ($8.80, $4.30) for a 10-4 exacta worth $103.40. A $1 triactor of 10-4-2 (Southern Ring, $2.90) paid $246.60 and a $1 superfecta of 10-4-2-6 (Veaisha) returned $1,708.15.
Sugar Jones, Sky My Sky and Bellamentary completed the field which had three scratches.