“A new chapter in the history of Woodbine, the inner turf underway,” announced Robert Geller as a field of nine broke from the gate in the first ever race contested on new inner turf course on the Friday kick off card of the Queen's Plate Racing Festival.
Bold Rally will go down in the history books as the first winner on the new course as he edged out Badjeros Boy in a photo finish after a head-to-head duel down the stretch.
The eight-year-old grey gelding by Fort Prado was ridden to victory by Woodbine's leading jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva for trainer Kevin Attard and owner Scott Ksionzyk. The time of the mile over the firm turf was 1:36.18.
“It feels super,” said Da Silva. “The turf is like carpet. The turn is so good. I feel like it's going to be a small, little park for me to play there, it's really, really nice. I have a great feeling.”
Bold Rally settled off the pace in seventh through fractions of :23:07, :46.69 and 1:10.91 as Immunity, Differential and Admirals Cove were heads apart leading the charge. Despite a bobble midway through the final turn, Bold Rally emerged between rivals down the stretch along with early trailer Badjeros Boy and battled to the finish. Chiricahua Signal finished three lengths behind in third.
A nine-time winner from 50 lifetime starts, Bold Rally returned $7.50 to win as the 5-2 co-favourite.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held earlier on the card to celebrate the launch of racing on the new course with Jim Lawson, CEO of Woodbine Entertainment, doing to the honors accompanied by Woodbine's COO Tom Via, Jonathan Zammit, VP of Thoroughbred Racing, and Hall of Fame jockey Sandy Hawley.
It was an eventful day for Da Silva, who also took the $100,000 Lady Angela Stakes aboard Ciuri.
The Queen's Plate Festival continues on Saturday, with a stakes-stacked program featuring the 160th running of the $1 million Queen's Plate, first jewel of the OLG Canadian Triple Crown. First race post time is set for 12 noon.
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