Way to Versailles arrived in the final stride to collar Smiling Causeway in Sunday’s $175,000 Grade 2 Royal North Stakes, at Woodbine.
Trained by Kevin Attard and patiently piloted by Eurico Rosa da Silva, the four-year-old daughter of Tizway provided owner Mahamoud Pootoolal with his first stakes win with a narrow nose score in the six-furlong turf sprint for fillies and mares three-years-old and upwards.
Kasuga and Will She set a rapid pace in the Royal North marking off splits of :22.42 and :44.59 with Smiling Causeway and Lull, the 6/5 mutuel favourite, stalking their early foot.
Smiling Causeway, under Daniel Centeno, and Way to Versailles shifted into gear through the turn to take command as the field reached the top of the lengthy E.P. Taylor Turf Course with Lull and Jennifer Lynnette attempting to cut into their lead. Smiling Causeway dug in bravely but the wide-travelling Way to Versailles persevered to the wire to prevail by the smallest of margins. Lull stayed on for third, a further 2 1/2-lengths back. Way to Versailles stopped the clock in 1:08 flat over a firm turf course.
Often a pace presence through her strong 2017 campaign when posting a record of 2-2-1 from seven starts, Way to Versailles has now earned back-to-back scores with rallying efforts.
“She was very happy coming from behind. She was running very relaxed and she was there for me when I needed her. She’s a wonderful filly,” said da Silva.
Da Silva was pleased with how Way to Versailles responded to his instructions en route to her first career stakes scores.
“Last time, she showed a lot of speed and I took back. Today, she showed speed if I wanted to be a little closer to the race. She’s there for you. She’s a wonderful filly and runs very focused,” said da Silva.
Attard was full of praise for both while notching his first Woodbine stakes win of the meet.
“Eurico rides her well. We got her to relax this year and she’s been a little more versatile than she normally is. It seems to be working fine,” said Attard.
Bred in Florida by Farm III Enterprises LLC, Way to Versailles banked $105,000 in victory while improving her record to 4-2-1 from 10 career starts.
Way to Versailles paid $21.20, $9.30 and $4.40. She combined with Smiling Causeway ($4.50, $2.70) for a 6-4 exacta worth $77.50. Lull ($2.30) completed the 6-4-8 trifecta, which paid $260.30. Jennifer Lynnette, the 2017 Royal North champ, rallied for fourth to complete a $1 Superfecta of 6-4-8-10 worth $431.30.