TORONTO, April 30, 2022 – Beautiful Empire rallied late to win the $131,500 Star Shoot Stakes, a six-furlong sprint for three-year-old fillies, Saturday at Woodbine.
Emma-Jayne Wilson engineered an enterprising trip for the Kentucky-bred daughter of Classic Empire-Humor Me Colonel, who notched her first stakes triumph and second straight score at the Toronto oval.
Beautiful Empire, one of three – Diabolic (IRE) and Aubrieta were the others – Mark Casse trainees, got off a step slowly in the day’s feature race, as Miss Alacrity and Parlance dueled on the front end, with Howdyoumakeurmoney sitting third through an opening quarter-mile reached in :22.19.
The pacesetting duo continued their tussle through a half-mile timed in :44.56, as the tightly-grouped field of six began to pick up the pace into the turn for home.
As the sophomore fillies straightened for the stretch drive, Wilson called an audible, guiding her filly to the inside as her stablemates, Diabolic and Aubrieta, began to rally to the outside, but weren’t able to corral Beautiful Empire in the late stages.
At the wire, Beautiful Empire was a 1 ½-length winner, with Aubrieta heading Diabolic for the place award. The final time was a quick 1:08.70.
Wilson heaped praise on the John Oxley-owned chestnut, who came into the Star Shoot off a sensational four-length triumph at five panels on the Woodbine main track on April 16, opening day of the 2022 Thoroughbred meet.
Beautiful Empire looked right at home again.
“Mark [Casse] had messaged me and let me know to let her take a sit and come with a run similar to her race last time. She broke a little slower than I was expecting, but there was a lot of pace in the race – let her settle, let her get her legs, be happy.”
Wilson’s decision to take the inside track turned out to be a winning gameplan.
“I was actually angling to go to the outside, and the rail kind of opened up. Good horses, when you ask them, they run. And that’s exactly what happened. She’s been running lights out the whole winter. She was primed for a big effort. It was a big effort last time and she stepped up again today.”
With the win, Beautiful Empire sports a mark of 3-1-1 from seven starts. She broke her maiden in her third race, a 2 ¾-length victory over five panels last December at Turfway Park.
Bred by Springhouse Farm, Beautiful Empire paid $9.20, $4.90, and $3, combining with Aubrieta ($4.70, $3) for a $35.80 exactor. Diabolic ($2.80) completed the all-Casse $100.50 triactor. Howdyoumakeurmoney rounded out a $1 superfecta (1-4-2-6) worth $135.05.
Live Thoroughbred racing at Woodbine continues Sunday afternoon with a 10-race card, including the $125,000 Woodstock Stakes. Post time is set for 1:10 p.m.
Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms