The $110,000 Courageous Lady will head postward this Friday (April 25). The race is an Open event for North America’s top three-year-old-filly pacers and is the first national stakes event of 2014.
Kayla Grace is a late supplement to the field and has been named the 3-1 morning line favourite by Dave Bianconi, Northfield Park’s executive vice president of Racing and Simulcasting. She enters this event with an unblemished 15-for-15 record, a mark of 1:55.1 (taken at Hazel Park) and earnings of $69,227. However, all 15 of Kayla Grace’s races have taken place in the state of Michigan. This will be the first time she crosses state lines to compete on the national stage.
“It is really hard to say how she will do,” said her trainer, Marie St. Charles. “Michigan is not a real strong state and she has never been tested. All I know is that she knows how to race and she obviously knows how to win.”
St. Charles was reluctant to supplement to the Courageous Lady because of the $10,000 buy-in. “That is a lot of money to put up to be able to race. We have been considering this move for quite some time, then I just had a horse claimed off me for $10,000 and felt is was a sign that we should do it.”
Kayla Grace is far from St. Charles’ only good horse that she has conditioned. She had a lot of success in Michigan, having trained 13 Michigan Sire Stake Champions. “My horses have won big races at Woodbine and Hawthorne, too,” added St. Charles. “But we are definitely excited, because this race is a big step for us.”
Some of the fillies staked and expected to race in this year’s Courageous Lady did not enter, according to Bianconi. “Two or three of the anticipated fillies came up sick. I wish the field size was seven or eight, but what we lack in quantity, we have made up in quality,” he said. “The undefeated filly coming down from Michigan definitely makes for an intriguing story.”
The field for the $110,000 Courageous Lady appears below.
PP – Horse – Trainer – Driver – Morning Line Odds
1 – Shell Bell – Steve Carter - Aaron Merriman – 6-1
2 – Sister Stroll – Brian Brown – Ryan Stahl – 9-2
3 – Kayla Grace – Marie St. Charles – Brad Kramer – 3-1
4 – A La Notte Hanover – Ron Burke – Chris Page – 7-2
5 – Fiyonce – Ron Burke – Josh Sutton – 10-1
6 – That Woman Hanover – Dan Altmeyer – Mike Wilder – 4-1