Dixie Moon eclipses favoured Wonder Gadot in Woodbine Oaks Presented By Budweiser
TORONTO, June 9, 2018 - Dixie Moon, sent off as the second choice at 3-1, held off the late surge of odds-on favourite Wonder Gadot to prevail by a head in Saturday’s $500,000 Woodbine Oaks Presented By Budweiser at Woodbine Racetrack.
Trained by Catherine Day Phillips and ridden by Eurico Rosa da Silva, Dixie Moon had pressed the pace of Fairy Hill while in the clear from the outset of the 1 1/8 mile showpiece for Canadian-bred three-year-old fillies.
"My plan was trying to relax her as much as I could and she was running very, very relaxed,” said jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva.
“I had a great trip, I was sitting in a great position and the pace was not that fast. I pushed her a little bit early because I know she was going to have a good finish.”
“She had a nice, clean trip and she just gave it her all,” said Day Phillips. “Her biggest strength is in her heart. She’s just a lovely filly.”
Fairy Hill led by a length through a quarter in :25.16 and a half in :50.27. Dixie Moon, just off the leader’s flank, had moved to within a half-length as the three-quarters went by in 1:14.07 and assumed command in early stretch.
Wonder Gadot, by contrast, was squeezed back shortly after the start and forced to drop back to last place in the field of five.
Launching a three-wide move down the backstretch, Wonder Gadot had Dixie Moon in her sights turning for home and had drawn within a half-length as the mile went by in 1:38 but was just unable to overtake the winner.
“She was real bad with the pony so I had to walk her warming up,” said jockey Patrick Husbands. She broke flat-footed, and walked out of the gate, so we had to try to get back within striking distance. But she ran a good race.”
Da Silva acknowledged that he expected a stern challenge from the favourite.
“In my mind, I knew that filly was going to come,” said Da Silva. “And Patrick was smart, he was watching me and she came and both horses ran a fabulous race."
Hot Cash, a maiden who was making her local bow for Stronach Stables and trainer Jimmy Jerkens, finished a non-threatening third, 7 1/4 lengths behind the winner.
Fairy Hill weakened to finish fourth another length back and Queen’s Fate brought up the rear in the compact field of five.
The final time of the Woodbine Oaks was 1:50.38. The Plate Trial, for Canadian-bred three-year-olds, was clocked in 1:50.40 two races earlier.
All starters carried 121 pounds, which would be the assigned impost for representatives of the fair sex in the Queen’s Plate.
The Woodbine Oaks has been a key prep for the Queen’s Plate in recent years with Holy Helena (2017), Lexie Lou (2014), Inglorious (2011) and Dancethruthedawn (2001) completing the Woodbine Oaks—Queen’s Plate double in this century.
Day Phillips, however, was non-committal in the immediate aftermath of Dixie Moon’s victory.
Dixie Moon, a homebred who races for Sean and Dorothy Fitzhenry, was the second Woodbine Oaks winner for Day Phillips and Da Silva, who upset the 2016 renewal with Neshama.
The Curlin filly was winning her third stakes race after defeating Canadian-bred males in last year’s Cup and Saucer at 1 1/16 miles and fellow Ontario-bred fillies in the 1 1/16 mile Ontario Lassie. She was coming into the Woodbine Oaks off a solid second-place finish in the Grade 3 Selene here at 1 1/16 miles.
The winner returned $8.60 and $2.10 with the 4-3 exactor over Wonder Gadot ($2.10) coming back at $11.90. The $1 trifecta with No. 5 Hot Cash returned $11.50 and the $1 superfecta with Fairy Hill (1) was worth $17.05.
Telekinesis triumphs in Plate Trial
TORONTO, June 9, 2018—Telekinesis (pictured, photo by Mr. Will Wong), sent off at 2-5, didn’t exactly have to move mountains but found the Plate Trial to be more than a routine exercise as he prevailed by 1 3/4 lengths over a dead game Rose’s Vision on Saturday at Woodbine Racetrack.
Patrick Husbands was giving trainer Mark Casse his fifth win of the afternoon in the 1 1/8 mile Plate Trial, a $125,000 race for Canadian-bred three-year-olds which is a stepping-stone to the $1 million Queen’s Plate at 1 1/4 miles on June 30.
“He was travelling so easy,” said Husbands, who was riding Telekinesis for the first time in a race. “By the time I left the gate, he had one ear back and one ear forward and that’s a sign that a horse is comfortable under you. So I got about the three-quarter pole and he still had one ear forward and one ear back, he showed me that he was just playing with that horse.
“Down the lane, I was squeezing him a little bit. He did just enough to win the race.”
Telekinesis had moved quickly into the lead from his No. 2 post and controlled the pace through a quarter in :25.06 and a half in :49.66 with Rose’s Vision in hot pursuit and Scrapper running third on the inside.
Heading around the final turn, Rose’s Vision took on Telekinesis in earnest but remained a half-length back through six furlongs in 1:13.31. At the furlong pole, Rose’s Vision was just a head off Telekinesis with the mile clocked in 1:37.61.
And while the winner drew away in the final stages, finishing in 1:50.40, Rose’s Vision was easily second with Aheadbyacentury 4 3/4 lengths back in third-place with a belated run. Boyhood Dream ran fourth, 1 1/2 lengths behind Aheadbyacentury.
Scrapper, invading from New York for trainer Todd Pletcher, lost touch late and wound up fifth with a never-dangerous Absolution sixth in the field of seven.
Silent Sting, the second choice, had dropped back abruptly around the final turn and checked in a distant last. He underwent a brief examination by the racetrack veterinarian but walked back to the barn.
All starters in the Plate Trial carried 126 pounds, the same impost which will be assigned to male entrants in the Queen’s Plate.
Telekinesis, owned by Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Stables, was making his first start at Woodbine and coming off a narrow second-place finish in Keeneland’s Grade 3, 1 1/16 mile Lexington on April 14.
The son of Ghostzapper, who has sired two of the past three Queen’s Plate winners, did not make it to the races until February 9 and the Plate Trial was his fourth career start.
Telekinesis paid $2.90, $2.40 and $2.10. He combined with Rose’s Vision ($9.20, $5) for a 2-3 exacta worth $22.20. A $1 trifecta of 2-3-5 (Aheadbyacentury, $2.90) paid $34.35 and a $1 superfecta of 2-3-5-7 (Boyhood Dream) returned $262.60.
Road to Victory remains undefeated in Alywow Stakes
TORONTO, June 9, 2018—Road to Victory, sent off as the 6-5 choice, shifted sharply off the rail in early stretch and closed strongly to prevail by 1 1/2 lengths in Saturday’s $100,000 Alywow Stakes at Woodbine.
Remaining undefeated in her third career start, Road to Victory was guided confidently by jockey Gary Boulanger in the 6 1/2 furlong turf race for three-year-old fillies.
"I was never concerned,” said Boulanger, who rode Road to Victory for trainer Mark Casse. “She's obviously nice and this is the shortest she's ever run, but I had worked her twice here since she's come back and she's acting better this year than she did last year.”
“When I called her, she just surged underneath me and it was just like 'okay, let’s go do this.'"
Casse, winning his third race of the afternoon as well, was recording his fourth victory from 15 runnings of the Alywow.
Closer Still and Sly Beauty, also representing Team Casse, raced 1-2 for the first quarter-mile, which went in :22.60.
Magic Spell, inside, and Africa, three-wide, loomed in closest attendance while Road to Victory was dropping back on the inside with Boulanger sitting chilly.
Closer Still and Sly Beauty remained a length apart through a half in :44.51 and Sly Beauty had moved to the front by a head as the six furlongs went in 1:07.46.
Originator, a Kentucky shipper who was the third choice at 5-1, split horses to lead briefly in deep stretch before Road to Victory came calling and prevailed in 1:13.88.
Magic Spell, racing on the rail early, also finished between horses to nail down the show money, two lengths behind the runner-up at odds of 15.80-1.
Africa, who had loomed a threat turning for home, flattened out to finish fourth, beaten a total of six and a half lengths.
Sly Beauty and Closer Still weakened to finish fifth and sixth, respectively, while rank outsider Madame X. trailed throughout.
Road to Victory, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Quality Road, is three-for-three with wins in a seven-furlong maiden turf race with Boulanger aboard in her debut here last October and in the Grade 2, 1 1/16 mile Golden Rod Stakes at Churchill Downs.
Monomoy Girl, the runner-up there, was suffering what remains the only defeat of her career and ran her record to seven-for-eight with an impressive tally in Saturday’s Grade 1 Acorn at Belmont.
Owned in partnership by powerhouse Casse clients Gary Barber and John Oxley, Road to Victory was a $500,000 yearling purchase at the Ocala two-year-olds in training sale.
Road to Victory paid $4.40, $3 and $2.20. She combined with Originator ($4.80, $3.60) for a 1-2 exacta worth $19.70. A $1 trifecta of 1-2-3 (Magic Spell, $7.10) paid $106.90 and a $1 superfecta of 1-2-3-7 (Africa) returned $268.25.
Kimura celebrates first victory at Woodbine
TORONTO, June 9, 2018 – Pulling off a 70-1 surprise, Kazushi Kimura celebrated his first career win as an apprentice jockey at Woodbine Racetrack, pulling off a 70-1 surprise aboard Tornado Cat on the Woodbine Oaks undercard.
In just his 11th Canadian start and with his only mount on the 12-race program, the 18-year-old rider from Japan guided Tornado Cat to victory in the second race for trainer Shelley Fitzgerald, who co-owns with Martin Wickins and Patrice Likamshum.
Kimura worked out a ground-saving trip aboard the five-year-old homebred mare Tornado Cat, who trailed the field of 10 early on in the 6-1/2 furlong mares claiming race and advanced along the rail, eventually overtaking the dueling leaders in the stretch. Tornado Cat prevailed by three-quarters of a length in 1:18.36 over the late-rallying Khawlah and Conquer The Course.
Tornado Cat returned a whopping $142.10 to his backers for the upset win. The two-time winning Gayego mare had also provided Isabelle Wenc with her first Woodbine win last August.
Kimura, who completed 2-1/2 years of horse racing school in Japan, made his Canadian debut on May 27 at Woodbine finishing second in rein to Abogada. He now sports a record reading 1-3-2 in 11 starts.