Selene may decide Canadian filly title

Updated: September 26, 2009, 12:04 AM ET
By Ron Gierkink | Daily Racing Form



ETOBICOKE, Ontario -- Canadian champion 3-year-old filly honors could be on the line Saturday at Woodbine when Grade 1 Ashland winner Hooh Why clashes with Woodbine Oaks winner Milwaukee Appeal in the Grade 3, $250,000 Selene Stakes.

Careless Jewel, the most accomplished 3-year-old filly based at Woodbine this year, has bypassed the 1 1/16-mile Selene, and she needs a third start in Canada this year to qualify for a Sovereign Award.

The well-traveled Hooh Why sprang a 24-1 upset when she wired the field in the April 4 Ashland at Keeneland. She defeated Milwaukee Appeal in the La Lorgnette Stakes here in May, but could only manage fourth as the favorite in the Grade 3 Iowa Oaks at Prairie Meadows in June.

Co-owner Mark Hoffman said Hooh Why had a terrible trip most recently in the Ontario Colleen Stakes here, ending up sixth in her first turf start.

"She didn't get to run too much," Hoffman said. "After they sprung the gate, she was last. She weeded herself through the field, and when she went up to the leaders, they collapsed in front of her. I just held my breath that they didn't clip heels. She had nowhere to go, but at least I found out that she'll run on soft turf."

Hoffman said he also nominated Hooh Why to next Saturday's Grade 2 Cotillion Stakes at Philadelphia Park.

"I'd prefer to run here," said Hoffman. "We've been here for a month. She's coming up to this race just full of herself. She's been working like a monster on the training track. She couldn't be doing better."

Milwaukee Appeal finished a close third against males in the Queen's Plate, just two weeks after her Woodbine Oaks triumph in June. She was a distant second as the lukewarm favorite in her last start, Careless Jewel's victory in the Grade 1 Alabama at Saratoga. Trainer Scott Fairlie offered no excuses for the 11-length loss in the 10-furlong Alabama.

"She had a perfect trip," said Fairlie. "She was just second best. [Careless Jewel] was awesome. She ran the race of her life."

Fairlie said Milwaukee Appeal has done well heading into the Selene, which represents a switch from the dirt at Saratoga to Polytrack here.

"She came out of her last race good," said Fairlie. "I didn't train her quite as hard for this race. She only breezed twice, instead of three times. She's more than fit. It's always a concern when you're switching surfaces, but I don't think it will be a problem for my filly."