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, 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.
New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry.
Copyright © 2019 Paulick Report.