TORONTO, September 26 – Strut the Course, fresh off an authoritative maiden score, looks to make her added-money debut a winning one, when the Barb Minshall trainee takes on six rivals in Saturday’s $125,000 Victorian Queen Stakes, at Woodbine.

A two-year-old bay daughter of Strut the Stage, Strut the Course recorded an impressive victory in her second start, on September 8, turning a one-length lead at the stretch call into a six-length triumph in the six-furlong Polytrack event.

“I’ve always really liked her,” said Minshall. “She’s a little high strung, but she loves to train. She’s a lovely mover.”

Bred and owned by John Unger, the Ontario-bred finished fourth at 31-1 in her career bow on August 10. She was seven lengths behind Dancing Bay in the 12-horse race.

Minshall, in pursuit of her 42nd career stakes score, will be hoping for a smoother beginning than Strut the Course contended with in that first race.

“She got off to a slow start,” offered Minshall, who is in the midst of another strong Woodbine campaign that has yielded 15 wins from 84 starts, as of September 25. “She had her head up a bit when the gate opened and got in behind a little bit.”

Next time, however, she was the 5-2 mutuel favourite, putting in a polished performance.

“I was expecting her to run well,” said Canada’s champion trainer in 1996. “And that’s just what she did. She’s a really nice filly.”

A filly Minshall has plenty of faith in.

“I think two turns will be her thing,” she noted. “That’s what I see in her future. From day one, I really liked her. For now, we’ll focus on this race and down the line, we’ll stretch her out.”

Cryptic Message, perfect after four starts, will seek her fourth consecutive stakes victory after picking up wins in the Shady Well, Nandi and Muskoka.

Also on tap Saturday, the $100,000 Flaming Page Stakes, set for 1 ½ miles on the E.P. Taylor Turf Course.


Post / Horse / Jockey / Trainer

1 / Strut the Course / Jesse Campbell / Barbara Minshall

2 / Professor’s Ride / Michelle Rainford / Scott Fairlie

3 / Careless Word / Quincy Welch / Stuart Simon

4 / Cryptic Message / Eurico Rosa da Silva / Ralph Biamonte

5 / Crysta’s Court / Luis Contreras / Justin Nixon

6 / Tahnee / Emma-Jayne Wilson / Jason Giliforte

7 / Philzana / Davy Moran / Mike DePaulo