TORONTO, October 5 — Dixie Moon, coming off a strong runner-up effort in the Grade 1 Natalma Stakes, will be facing fellow Canadian-bred two-year-olds as the lone female here in Sunday’s Cup and Saucer Stakes.
The Cup and Saucer, a 1 1/16 mile turf race, offers a purse of $225,000 and attracted a bulky field of 12.
Dixie Moon, a punctual odds-on choice in her debut at seven furlongs on the Tapeta, stretched out to a mile on turf for the Natalma and was on the lead throughout only to be run down late by the Breeders’ Cup-bound Capla Temptress.
“I thought she ran a tremendous race in the Natalma; she was maybe a little bit green,” said Catherine Day Phillips, who conditions the homebred Dixie Moon for owners Sean and Dorothy Fitzhenry.
“I think she loves the turf, and this is really the only option to get back on the turf with her. The distance is right, and the timing is good, and she’s doing well.”
Eurico Rosa da Silva retains the mount on Dixie Moon, who will begin from post three and carries 119 pounds, three less than her male rivals.
The last filly to win the Cup and Saucer was Hard Not to Like, trained by Gail Cox, in 2011.
Flight Deck, a gelding bred by Sean Fitzhenry, could prove to be an ironic upsetter here.
Trained by Mike DePaulo, Flight Deck debuted in a seven-furlong turf race here September 24 and showed grit in winning by a head.
“He’s back in two weeks; that’s usually not my thing,” said DePaulo, who conditions Flight Deck for Le Amici Racing Stable. “But, we decided to go ahead and take a shot.
“He ran a good race that day, and I don’t think he was anywhere near down when he hit the wire. He galloped out good.”
Slade Callaghan will pilot Flight Deck, who drew post six.
Strike Me Down and Neepawa, who made their last appearances in a 1 1/16 mile maiden turf race at Saratoga on August 26, could have an impact on the Cup and Saucer outcome.
Graham Motion trains Strike Me Down, a Sam-Son Farm homebred who was debuting and closed well to finish third. He will be ridden here by Patrick Husbands.
Neepawa, conditioned by Mark Casse, ended a disappointing sixth as the favourite that day after finishing a bang-up third in his debut over the same distance. Gary Boulanger rides the Chiefswood Stable homebred, who will race with blinkers for the first time.
Differential, also trained by Casse, was a non-threatening seventh here in the September 17 Summer, a Grade 2, a one-mile turf race which was the Natalma’s supporting feature. Jesse Campbell rides.
Cooler Mike, the only two-time winner in the line-up, makes his turf debut for trainer/co-owner/co-breeder Nick Nosowenko. Luis Contreras retains the mount.
Just Be Kind, winner of last year’s Ontario Debutante at six furlongs, could prove best in a compact but competitive field of six for Sunday’s Ruling Angel.
The $100,000 Ruling Angel, an overnight stakes for three-year-old fillies, also attracted Presque Isle Downs shipper Tulsa Queen, who edged Just Be Kind by a half-length in the seven-furlong Duchess here July 15.
Just Be Kind has seen action once since the Duchess, defeating older rivals in an optional claiming/second-level allowance here August 19.
“She’s doing super,” said Reade Baker, who trains Just Be Kind and owns the filly in partnership with Roger Fortier and Rick Mah. “She hasn’t worked fast but she doesn’t—she’s not a very good work horse.
“I can’t complain about anything else. Everything’s been good.”
Here is a look at the complete fields for Sunday’s stakes:
$225,000 Cup and Saucer (Race 8)
1/Crumlin Night/David Moran/Mike Doyle
2/Neepawa/Gary Boulanger/Mark Casse
3/Dixie Moon/Eurico Rosa da Silva/Catherine Day Phillips
4/Absolution/Omar Moreno/Scott Fairlie
5/Differential/Jesse Campbell/Mark Casse
6/Flight Deck/Slade Callaghan/Mike DePaulo
7/Dot’s Vision/Michelle Rainford/Scott Fairlie
8/Strike Me Down/Patrick Husbands/Graham Motion
9/Redoute’s Light/Jerome Lermyte/Roger Attfield
10/Stormfuhr/Sheena Ryan/Mike Mattine
11/Cooler Mike/Luis Contreras/Nick Nosowenko
12/Rose’s Vision/Rafael Hernandez/Stuart Simon
$100,000 Ruling Angel (Race 6)
1/Patton’s Girl/Melanie Pinto/Paula Loescher
2/The Craic/Rafael Hernandez/Norm McKnight
3/Sister Nation/Eurico Rosa da Silva/Mike Depaulo
4/Way to Versailles/Gary Boulanger/Kevin Attard
5/Tulsa Queen/Willie Martinez/Ryan Walsh
6/Just Be Kind/Jesse Campbell/Reade Baker