2/14/10 - Warrendale Grad Smart Strike Filly Takes Charge Late in La Canada G2
RSS Feeds Sunday, February 14, 2010

Photo by Benoit

Courtesy of the TDN

The winner of yesterday's GII La Canada S. at Santa Anita came flying down the stretch to take the lead nearing the wire, but it wasn't the notoriously late-closing Stardom Bound (Tapit). Instead, it was 13-1 outsider Striking Dancer (Smart Strike) who closed powerfully under Alex Solis to earn a 1 1/2-length victory in the nine-furlong event.

"I had an awesome trip," Solis said. "I was able to save ground around the first turn and when we got to the five-eighths, I moved out where I had a good position and I had some options. She's an awesome filly and she beat a nice group of horses today."

Striking Dancer may have been a surprise to the betters, but Jordan Blair, assistant to trainer Ken McPeek got what she expected. "It's not a surprise at all," Blair said of the victory. "This filly trains well on every surface she's ever been on; dirt, turf, synthetic. She's been a bad-luck filly. She's had a lot of bad, troubled trips, through nobody's fault, just a lot of bad luck, and every time she gets clear, she wins, and she wins impressively, every time she wins. We knew she had it in her and she showed it today."

All three of Striking Dancer's previous wins had come over the lawn and a runner-up effort in the 2008 Caressing H. at Churchill was the only time she had hit the board in a stakes race. The McPeek trainee, an allowance winner at Keeneland last October, ended 2009 with a sixth-place effort in the Nov. 14 GII Mrs. Revere S. She started this term with a seventh after a troubled trip in a Jan. 8 Santa Anita allowance last time out. Favored Stardom Bound never uncorked her late run and reported home seventh.

She is owned by Stevestan Stables was bred by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC (KY)and is trained by Kenneth G McPeek; J-Alex O Solis; $90,000.
Lifetime: 11-4-1-3, $206,097

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