The $110,000 Courageous Lady goes postward this Friday evening at Northfield Park. The race is an open event for North America's top 3-year-old-filly pacers and is the first national stake of 2014.
Kayla Grace is a late supplement to the field and has been named the 3-1 morning line favorite 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 at Hazel Park and earnings of $69,227. However, all 15 of Kayla Grace's races have been raced 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 this race because of the rich $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 Sires 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 Dave 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,” said Bianconi. "The undefeated filly coming down from Michigan definitely makes for an intriguing story.”
The Complete 2014 $110,000 Courageous Lady Field:
PP HORSE TRAINER DRIVER M/L
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