Augustin Stable's four-year-old filly Pamina outduelled favorite Katie Baby to prevail in a photo finish in the $125,000 Ontario Matron Stakes (Grade 3) featured on Saturday at Woodbine Racetrack.
Jockey Luis Contreras had the Michael Dickinson trainee in contention, sitting outside of the 2-1 favorite down the backstretch in the 1-1/16-mile Tapeta test for fillies and mares.
Meanwhile, Sense of Bravery established the leading role and posted an opening quarter-mile in :24.35, the half in :48.08 and three-quarters in 1:11.31. Lunar Garden pressed the pace and made a bid for the lead with Summer Luck and Ladies Night stalking before those two flattened out in front of the grandstand.
Turning into the stretch, Pamina rallied out wide while Katie Baby sought room inside and those two took off from the rest in a sprint to the finish with the former filly nosing out the latter on the line in an impressive final time of 1:42.42.
“I had the perfect trip, I was outside most of the time and just looking,” said Contreras after the race. “This is a big, long-striding filly and I didn't want any trouble for her and I got a perfect trip, so I was happy.
“I just kept an eye on Eurico [Rosa Da Silva] and the horse to beat [Katie Baby]. I talked to Mike and he told me, if we send her before Eurico sends his horse, we'd have a big chance to win the race and everything worked out perfect.”
Bred in Kentucky by Godolphin, the Street Cry-Pamona Ball miss has raced stateside on turf for most of her career except for a fifth-place finish in the Grade 3 Maple Leaf Stakes last November on the Tapeta at Woodbine. She now boasts four wins and three seconds from 10 starts with earnings topping the $200,000 mark.
Pamina is now two-for-two this year, having also won her season's debut at Delaware Park on June 6 after returning from her winter retreat bigger and stronger than ever.
“We love racing at Woodbine; this is one of the best racetracks in the world. You've got two fantastic turf courses, the Tapeta track's not too bad either,” said Dickinson, a renowned trainer and the inventor of Tapeta. “It's very friendly here, we love coming here. You've got a lot of good horsemen, a lot of good trainers. And you've got some fantastic jockeys, you've got a very deep jockey pool. A very overall high standard.”
Sent postward at odds of 6-1, Pamina paid $15.20, $6.80 and $5.20. She combined with Katie Baby ($3.80, $3.20) for an exacta that returned $60.80 while 19-1 shot Giovanna Blues ($8.60) came from last to show producing a $285.85 trifecta payout for a $1 ticket. Miss Mo Mentum, the 5-2 second choice coming off her Grade 3 Trillium Stakes victory last month, finished fourth and completed a superfecta worth $1,124.15 for a $1 ticket.
Niigon's Bay, Lunar Garden, Crumlin Queen, Dixie Moon, Ladies Night, Summer Luck and Sense of Bravery completed the order of finish.
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