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Ghostzapper's Champion Holy Helena Strikes Again on Queen's Plate Day

06.29.2019 -

Two years after winning the Queen's Plate Stakes, Stronach Stables' homebred Holy Helena returned to Woodbine June 29 to capture the $175,000 Dance Smartly Stakes (G2) over seven other fillies and mares in the 1 1/4-mile grass test. The 5-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper is now a 6-time stakes winner of over $1.3 million.

Trained by Jimmy Jerkens, Holy Helena made her debut in the spring of her 3-year-old season. In only her third start, she captured the Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser and scored in the Queen's Plate one start later. Both races were run on the Tapeta track and helped her achieve the Sovereign Award for champion 3-year-old filly.

"I'm saying the Canadian air does a lot of good for her," proud owner Frank Stronach said after the victory.

Holy Helena did not race on turf until her first start at 4, and she has raced almost exclusively on the lawn since then. The dark bay/brown mare has twice won The Very One Stakes (G3T) at Gulfstream Park and also captured last year's Sheepshead Bay Stakes (G2T) at Belmont Park, a race she scratched from this year due to heavy rain.

With Javier Castellano aboard for the first time Saturday, Holy Helena took up second after breaking from the rail as the 6-5 favorite. Rock my Love sped to the lead and opened up by 3 1/2 lengths while setting fractions of :26.24, :51.41, 1:15.74, and 1:38.60 through a mile. Get Explicit made an early move and cruised up the rail to sit in second at the half-mile point, two lengths in front of Holy Helena.

Rock my Love still held the lead when the field straightened for home. Get Explicit tired as Holy Helena began her bid down the long stretch. The pacesetter was game but tired in front of the grandstand. Holy Helena kept on and fended off late runners to hit the wire in 2:02.08 on good turf, 1 1/4 lengths in front.

"I liked the way she did it today, the way she settled," said Castellano. "I didn't panic at the three-eighths because somebody moved outside me. I just sat still and made one run. The way she did it (was) phenomenal. The way she finished—unbelievable."

Stronach credited both Castellano and Stronach Stables racing manager Mike Doyle.

"Mike had her here for a week and a half, and I think things are great—they work well together," he said. "Javier is such a great rider. He didn't panic."

Holy Helena was bred in Ontario out of the Holy Bull mare Holy Grace and is a half sister to Amsterdam Stakes (G2) winner Holy Boss and Holyanna, a daughter of Point of Entry who scored an impressive debut victory at Woodbine on June 22. Holy Grace foaled a full brother to Holy Helena May 14. 

-edited from www.bloodhorse.com
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