Canadian champion WONDER GADOT headlines a five-filly field entered to go 1 1/8 miles at Woodbine on Saturday in the C$500,000 Woodbine Oaks.
The Mark Casse trainee has spent her sophomore career thus far running in the United States to ready for the Kentucky Oaks (G1). Wonder Gadot missed by only a neck in the Silverbulletday Stakes to kick off her sophomore season, finished third in both the Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G2) and Fair Grounds Oaks (G2), and then was nose back of the winner when second in the Fantasy Stakes (G3).
The dark bay daughter of Medaglia d’Oro lined up in the Run for the Lilies off that latter contest, and rallied to just miss by a half-length on the Churchill Downs wire in the Kentucky Oaks. Wonder Gadot will try to rebound from her tough-luck Kentucky Oaks second in this spot with jockey Patrick Husbands, aboard for her first four career starts, taking back the mount.
Dual stakes winner DIXIE MOON began her three-year-old campaign with a subpar ninth-place effort in the Appalachian Stakes (G2) at Keeneland. That was only the second start outside of Woodbine for the chestnut lass, who finished sixth in her first try at Del Mar in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) last November. Trainer Catherine Day-Phillips brought her back to Canada and the Curlin filly was just caught by a neck on the wire of the Selene Stakes (Can-G3) last out. Eurico Da Silva retains the mount Saturday.
QUEEN’S FATE finished second by a nose to Dixie Moon last year in the Ontario Lassie Stakes to conclude her juvenile season, but has been well-beaten while failing to hit the board in three starts thus far this year. Alan Garcia has the call for trainer Mike Maker.
FAIRY HILL was seventh in the Ontario Lassie in her first start for new trainer Norman McKnight, but hasn’t faced stakes rivals since that December 3 contest. The Sligo Bay filly enters this one off a three-length wire job against optional claiming rivals at Woodbine on May 19 with returning rider Jeffrey Alderson aboard.
Maiden HOT CASH rounds out the Woodbine Oaks field. The Jimmy Jerkens pupil makes her Woodbine debut in this spot under Luis Contreras following a third-place run against maiden rivals at Belmont Park on May 4 in her fourth career start last out.
A couple races before the Woodbine Oaks, seven colts and geldings line up in the C$125,000 Plate Trial Stakes going nine furlongs. The race is a prep for the Queen’s Plate Stakes, the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, at Woodbine three weeks hence on June 30.
Among those in with a chance are SILENT STING, who has gone 3-2-0 from five career starts including a neck victory in the Queenston Stakes most recently on April 22; and TELEKINESIS, who just missed by a head when second in the Lexington Stakes (G3) at Keeneland last out on April 14.
Also on Saturday at Woodbine is the C$100,000 Alywow Stakes for sophomore fillies. The 6 1/2-furlong turf affair attracted seven runners, including ROAD TO VICTORY and AFRICA.
Road to Victory brings a perfect two-for-two mark into her sophomore bow, having not been seen in competition since taking the 1 1/16-mile Golden Rod Stakes (G2) over the main track at Churchill Downs last November. The Quality Road filly actually broke her maiden by 3 1/2 lengths going seven furlongs on Woodbine’s turf on October 1. Africa began her career in her native France before heading stateside to trainer Chad Brown. The dark bay miss ran sixth in her U.S. debut last October in the Miss Grillo Stakes (G3) and just returned on April 15 to be a head second in the Mizdirection Stakes at Aqueduct.