Nipissing, a long-striding daughter of the late Queen's Plate champion Niigon, got up in the final stride to defeat Strut the Course in the $250,800 Princess Elizabeth Stakes, at Woodbine.
The Chiefswood Stable homebred, trained by Rachel Halden and ridden to victory by Steve Bahen, maintained her perfect record in 2012 with a late run to take the 1 1/16-mile ‘Poly' route.
Crysta's Court led the field through sharp splits of :24.63 and :49.21 with Smartfly watching from second position and Nipissing stalking from fourth.
Strut the Course launched an impressive rally from near the back of the pack through the far turn and took command at the top of the stretch, but could not hold off a determined Nipissing who arrived in the nick of time to notch a half-length win in 1:45.25.
Smartfly stayed on for show money. A claim of foul by Luis Contreras, the jockey of fourth-place finisher Tiz Ro, against Jim McAleney, jockey of Strut the Course, for interference at the quarter pole was denied.
Bahen, who has been aboard for all three of Nipissing's starts, was full of praise for the lanky bay.
“She is the real deal,” said Bahen. “She's done everything we've ever asked of her and today proved it.”
Bahen was pleased with the trip he engineered for the hard-trying filly.
“We just wanted to sit off the pace and wait as long as possible,” said Bahen. “I got after her a little bit earlier than I wanted to get after her, but she responded when I called on her.”
Nipissing banked $150,000 in victory, while improving her record to three wins from three starts.
She paid $5.50, $3.80 and $2.90, combining with Strut the Course ($19.50, $9.90) for an $87.80 (9-1) exactor. A 9-1-10 (Smartfly, $4.70 to show) triactor was worth $507.60, while a $1 superfecta [9-1-10-2 (Tiz Ro)] came back $1215.55.
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