With another promising filly in her care, trainer Catherine Day Phillips won the $125,000 Ontario Lassie Stakes for the second consecutive year as Artilena prevailed in the 1-1/16 mile main track event co-featured on Sunday afternoon at Woodbine Racetrack.
Jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson worked out the winning trip aboard the Ontario-bred two-year-old filly for owners George Ledson, Braconcrest Inc., Anderson Farms Ontario Inc., and Kingfield Racing Stable Ltd.
Scat's Rose charged out from post seven to establish the lead over Artilena before the first turn and she showed the way through panels of :25.50, :49.29 and 1:13.60 before coming under pressure. Artilena had followed in second-place and took command at the top of the stretch en route to her first stakes victory in a final time of 1:45.39. She held off Hastalavistababy, who came up just a head short off a ground-saving trip, while 3-5 favourite Western Curl rallied wide from the backfield and finished third.
“She relaxed beautifully,” said Day Phillips, who won the 2017 edition with Dixie Moon. “Emma breezed her the other day and really enjoyed her. They got along well together and she had her in a great spot today and rode a great race.”
Bred by Anderson Farms Ont. Inc. & Marette Farrell, the Artie Schiller filly is out of the unraced Arch mare Helena's Triomphe, a half-sister to last year's Grade 1 TVG Pacific Classic Stakes champion Collected. The win was Artilena's second in five starts to go along with a pair of runner-up efforts.
“We had always really liked her,” said Day Phillips. “Her third start was in the Natalma and we expected her to run well there and it didn't really work out well, but we've reorganized and here she is in the winner's circle.”
Wilson, who missed the first few months of the season due to injury, picked up her fifth stakes win of the meet. The 2018 Avelino Gomez Award winner previously won the Ontario Lassie Stakes with London Tower in 2014 and Sparkles' Girl in 2015 as well as Our Madison in 2005.
The last trainer to win back-to-back editions of the Ontario Lassie was Day Phillips' father Jim Day (1986-1987), who has won four overall and is tied with Roger Attfield for most wins in the race.
Sent postward at odds of 8-1, Artilena paid $19.80, $8.20 and $4.20. She combined with Hastalavistababy ($5.20, $3.30) for an exacta worth $111.50 while a $1 trifecta ticket with Western Curl ($2.20) returned $166.50.
Notice Me, also trained by Day Phillips, finished fourth and completed the superfecta, which paid $703.70 for a $1 ticket.
Scat's Rose, Lady Azalea, Moksgmol and Crumlin Time completed the order of finish.
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