Bruno Schickedanz’s homebred mare Scotty’s Model earned her first stakes victory in the $100,000 Ballade Stakes featured on Sunday afternoon’s Woodbine program.
Trained by Norm McKnight and ridden by Rafael Hernandez, the eight-year-old chestnut mare chased down pacesetter Code Warrior off a ground-saving trip in the six-furlong sprint for Ontario-sired fillies and mares.
Code Warrior shot to the lead from post seven with Listenlindalisten and Little Christy leaving to her outside and pressing the pace through opening panels of :22.42 and :45.07. Code Warrior shook off those early challengers heading into the turn, but inside starter Scotty’s Model launched her bid after tracking the leaders along the rail and took over down the stretch to score by two lengths in 1:09.49. Sparkles’ Girl edged out Silent Sonet in photo for third-place.
“That was the plan between Norm and us. We were talking before the race: We’ve got some horses that have speed, but we have to be close so when we make the run we’ll be able to have a clear trip,” said Hernandez. “And that’s what we did. Thanks Norm and Bruno, they’ve been doing wonderful work and I appreciate them letting me ride for them.”
The multiple graded stakes-placed mare was sent postward as the 6-5 favourite and returned $4.60, $2.70 and $2.40. The win was her first of the year following a close third-place effort in the Grade 3 Whimsical Stakes last month at Woodbine and prior off-the-board finishes in a pair of stakes at Oaklawn Park.
“She loves it here and I think she loves all the fans here so she really runs her heart out for them,” said Schickedanz.
“Right when she went down there [to Oaklawn Park], right off the bat the first time I breezed her I had concerns that she just wasn’t the same horse on the dirt,” said McKnight.
“Part and parcel of going down to Oaklawn we had a game plan in mind. Mr. Schickedanz always gives his filly lots of time after every campaign and I had mentioned to him maybe we should send her to Oaklawn to kind of keep her going because we never seem to have her ready for the Ballade early in the year. So I said I think that’s a race we can win so let’s just keep her going, we don’t have to race her much, maybe once a month and then we’ll be ready and hopefully it will pay off.”
The game plan for the Mr. Scotty mare did pay off and she notched her eighth lifetime victory from 19 starts while pushing her bankroll to $387,632.
Scotty’s Model combined with Code Warrior ($4.20, $3.20) for a 1-8 exacta worth $17.70. A $1 trifecta of 1-8-7 (Sparkles’ Girl, $8.90) paid $92.85 and a $1 superfecta of 1-8-7-3 (Silent Sonet) returned $334.15. West L. A. Girl, Sugar Jones, Crumlin Spirit, Little Christy and Listenlindalisten complete the order of finish. Blurricane was scratched.
Scotty’s Model was one of multiple winners on the nine-race card for meet leaders Hernandez (four wins), McKnight (three wins) and Schickedanz (two wins).
Live racing continues at Woodbine on Victoria Day with Monday’s eight-race program set to begin at 1 p.m.