Sam-Son Farm's Woodbine Oaks-winning filly Desert Ride closed out the Triple Tiara by taking the $225,000 Wonder Where Stakes on Saturday at Woodbine Racetrack.
With Steven Bahen aboard for trainer Neil Howard, the Candy Ride-Fun in the Desert filly bookended the series for Canadian-foaled three-year-old fillies after skipping the Bison City middle leg to post a top five finish against the boys in the $1 million Queen's Plate.
Moving on to today's 1-1/4-mile turf test, Desert Ride settled mid-pack and then tracked the cover of the Bison City champion and slight favourite Speedy Soul, who pressed the pace down the backstretch. As Desert Ride rallied three-wide to the fore down the lane, early trailer Preferred Guest matched her strides closing further out and they took off in a fight to the finish. In the end, Desert Ride prevailed ahead of the game Preferred Guest by half a length in 2:02.01.
Third prize went to Niigon's Spin, who finished 1-3/4 lengths behind after setting fractions of :26.49, :50.40, 1:14.96 and 1:39.33. Court Return was fourth with Sport'n Forty fifth ahead of Speedy Soul. Grand Mesa was a late scratch at the gate.
“She's a big fighter,” said Bahen after the stretch duel. “She got her head in front and then I knew the last part she'd come running. She just wants more ground. She dug back in and took off.”
“I was very, very impressed,” said Howard. “Steve rode her beautifully as he always does. I was a little concerned for a second – there was a little bit of a fight down the stretch – because most of those horses were pretty fresh when they turned in the lane given the fractions and everything. So she had to dig in and she did and I couldn't be happier for the Sam-Son group. They're just wonderful, it couldn't be more well deserved.”
Desert Ride, who launched her career on turf with two wins and a runner-up finish stateside earlier this year, is now four-for-six lifetime with earnings soaring over the $500,000 mark.
“I think grass is her forte although we were thrilled with both of her races on the synthetic,” noted Howard. “But I do believe the grass is probably more to her comfort.”
Sent postward as the 3-2 second favourite, Desert Ride paid $5.10, $3.20 and $2.50. She combined with 8-1 third choice Preferred Guest ($4.90, $3.90) for an exacta worth $25.40. The trifecta completed by Niigon's Spin ($5.30) returned $53.35 and the superfecta with Court Return paid $268.85 for $1 tickets.
Live Thoroughbred racing continues at Woodbine on Sunday featuring the Grade 3 Seagram Cup. First race post time is set for 1:05 p.m.
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