Inglorious captures $500,000 Woodbine Oaks
Vern Dubinsky and Josie Carroll have a big decision to make.
Inglorious overtook Spooky Kitten in deep stretch to capture the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks thoroughbred race Sunday by three-quarters of a length.
After Inglorious broke as if she wanted to go to the lead from the start, jockey Luis Contreras settled her back into the field as Spooky Kitten set the early pace. Sitting sixth at the ¾-mile mark, Inglorious came on down the stretch to surpass Marketing Mix, who was running on the rail, before storming ahead of Spooky Kitten to win the country's most prestigious race for Canadian-bred three-year-old fillies.
Earlier, Check Your Soul, the 3/1 second pick, overtook 8/5 favourite Bear's Chill down the stretch to win the $150,000 Plate Trial Stakes by 1¾-lengths.
Check Your Soul posted a time of 1:51.16 in the 1 1/8-mile race to top the nine-horse field of Canadian-foaled three-year-olds.
Bowman's Causeway (5-1) was second while Strike Oil (15-1) took third.
Check Your Soul, conditioned by eight-time Queen's Plate winner Roger Attfield, paid $8.70, $4 and $3 while Bowman Causeway returned $6.30 and $4.70.
Strike Oil paid $5.80.
The race was for horses that hope to run in the $1-million Queen's Plate on June 26 at Woodbine.
Winning jockey Patrick Husbands, who guided Wando to the last Canadian Triple Crown title in '03, hopes to be aboard Check Your Soul in this year's Queen's Plate.
"Fingers crossed we can get to the Plate," he said afterwards.
Inglorious co-owner Dubinsky and trainer Carroll must mull over their options. There's running Inglorious against the boys in the $1-million Queen's Plate — Canada's most famous thoroughbred race June 26 at Woodbine Racetrack — continuing on with the filly Triple Tiara or take her south of the border.
Dubinsky wouldn't say what's next for Inglorious but left little doubt as to what his preference would be.
"I think that [Queen's Plate] would be our goal, but you never know," Dubinsky said. "We"ll give it a rattle if she's good."
Carroll, who registered her first career Oaks victory, would only say the Plate was one of many options for the impressive filly. But Carroll added the only way Inglorious would run in the Plate was if she was completely healthy.
"Really, you don't go there unless you're 100 per cent, so we'll make sure this filly is not too knocked out from this race, that she's going in as good as she can go in," she said. "That's the only way to go."
Dubinsky said Inglorious' run Sunday didn't give him any indication she couldn't compete in the Queen's Plate.
"No, I thought she ran great," he said. "It's hard to win as the favourite.
"I thought she ran very well. We're thrilled to death."
"The simple thing about this filly is she does what you ask her to do," Carroll said. "Maybe I was a little concerned when she jumped out like that.
"But the only thing I said to Luis before the race was to ride her with patience and confidence and she'll do the rest. That's precisely what he did.
"She jumped out early, he [Contreras] eased her back and those horses came around her. She doesn't panic, he didn't panic, they relaxed and did what they were supposed to do."
The Oaks is the first leg of the filly Triple Tiara, with the second race being the 1/16th-mile $250,000 Bison City Stakes on July 3 at Woodbine. The final event is the 1¼-mile $250,000 Wonder Where Stakes on July 31, also at Woodbine.
If Carroll and Dubinsky elect to keep Inglorious in the Tiara, she will attempt to join Sealy Hill as the only horses to capture the series crown. Sealy Hill accomplished the feat in 2007.
Carroll made Canadian thoroughbred racing history in '06 when she became the first female trainer to win the Queen's Plate with Edenwold. Her previous best finish in this event was second in 2008 with Victory Romance.
"It's pretty exciting," a beaming Carroll said.
Inglorious, the 8/5 favourite, won the 1 1/8th-mile race in 1:51.77 on Woodbine's Polytrack. Spooky Kitten, a 10-1 longshot, finished second, with Marketing Mix taking third.
The remainder of the field, in order of finish, included: Roxy Gap, Silver Ami, Bear It's Time, Grant Style, Charismatically and Abrianna.
Contreras, Woodbine's leading rider this season, earned the victory in his Oaks debut.
Inglorious earned $5.20, $3.40 and $2.40 for her fourth win in six career starts but improved to 4-0 at Woodbine. The $300,000 winner's share nearly doubled her career earnings to $650,000.
Spooky Kitten returned $7.70 and $4.70 while Marketing Mix paid $3.40.