Santa Monica, who trailed the field through the first mile, rallied strongly down the lane to overtake stablemate Inflexibility by a comfortable half-length and give trainer Chad Brown a 1-2 finish in Saturday’s Dance Smartly Stakes.
Jose Ortiz was recording his first victory in Canada as he partnered the 5-year-old in the Grade 2, 1 ¼-mile turf race for fillies and mares.
"She was very nice today,” said Ortiz, who had ridden Santa Monica to a four-length score in her North American debut at Keeneland. ”She put me into a great position and when I guided her to the clear, she exploded."
Starship Jubilee led through a quarter in :25.77 and a half in :49.03 with first Dream Dancing and then Inflexibility in closest attendance.
But then Inflexibility, deviating from her usual style, shot to the front as the hit the three-quarters in 1:12.46 and had opened up a 1 ½-length margin through a mile in 1:35.95.
Starship Jubilee, Mythical Mission, and Dream Dancing were beginning to fade at that point.
Santa Monica, meanwhile, had been taking her time while just off the rail in eighth place and swung to the far outside turning for home with her unstoppable rally. The final time was 1:59.51.
“She's a filly that will go long, way longer than this – a mile and a quarter, a mile and three eights, a mile and a half,” said Ortiz. “She'd be very nice going each of those distances."
Holy Helena, last year’s Queen’s Plate winner and Canada’s champion 3-year-old filly, performed creditably in her return but failed to seriously threaten the top two and had to settle for third money, 3 ¼- lengths behind the runner-up.
Bletchley, who had raced in eighth for most of the race, rallied to take down fourth money, another 1 ¾-lengths behind Holy Helena.
Rounding out the order of finish were Liberty Kitten, Starship Jubilee, Saba, Mythical Mission and Dream Dancing.
Flower Fashion was a late scratch.
Brown was recording his second straight win in the Dance Smartly, having sent out Rainha da Bateria to finish in a dead heat with Starship Jubilee in last year’s running.
Santa Monica, bred in England and a Group 3 winner in Ireland, was purchased privately and was coming into the Dance Smartly off a third-place finish in Belmont’s Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay back on May 5 for her new owners Susan Magnier, Madaket Stables LLC, and Deron Pearson.
The winner returned $9.30, $4.90 and $3.10 and fronted an 8-7 exacta with Inflexibility ($4, $2.80) worth $36.30 and the 8-7-5 trifecta with Holy Helena ($2.60) came back at $97.10. Bletchley rounded out the $1 8-7-5-9 superfecta of $265.15.