TORONTO, October 8 — Dixie Moon, the only filly in a field of 12 Canadian-bred 2-year-olds for Sunday’s $225,000 Cup and Saucer Stakes, moved to the lead on the inside down the backstretch and cut out the rest of the pace en route to a one-length score.
Bet down to 7-5 favoritism in the late stages, Dixie Moon had to survive a bit of a late scare from 2-1 second choice Strike Me Down before holding sway to give rider Eurico Rosa da Silva his second stakes victory of the afternoon.
Da Silva, Dixie Moon’s rider in each of her three starts for trainer Catherine Day Phillips, had finished second aboard the filly in the one-Natalma Stakes, her turf debut here Sept. 17.
“She ran very well that day,” said DaSilva, “and it was too bad that in the last sixteenth of a mile she started really looking around and she got distracted a little bit and we got passed at the wire.
“She still ran a very good race and after the wire she jumped on the bit again. I was very impressed with that race. Once they go over the turf course she had more experience. She was very focused today. “
Redoute’s Light held a head lead over Dixie Moon as the quarter went by in :24.31 but the favorite assumed command shortly thereafter. Pressed hard by Strike Me Down while maintaining a half-length lead through a half in :48.39 and three-quarters in 1:11.99, Dixie Moon kicked away in midstretch and led by two lengths with a furlong to run. But Strike Me Down, a maiden whose only previous start had been a troubled third-place finish for trainer Graham Motion at Saratoga, did not back down and cut into the margin in the closing yards.
Rose’s Vision and Cooler Mike who had started from the 12 and 11 posts, respectively, both launched their bids around the final turn but were unable to seriously threaten the top two. Rose’s Vision finished third, 2 ½ lengths behind Strike Me Down but a neck before Cooler Mike.
Rounding out the order of finish were Neepawa, Flight Deck, Stormfuhr, Crumlin Night, Differential, Absolution, Dot’s Vision and Redoute’s Light.
Dixie Moon, a homebred who races for Sean and Dorothy Fitzhenry, had worked very well for her debut on Aug. 19 and was a convincing winner of that seven-furlong Tapeta race. Then came the Natalma, an open Grade 1 race for 2-year-old fillies in which the victorious European invader Capla Temptress punched her “Win and You’re In” ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
“We thought she enjoyed the turf and moved up on the turf and deserved another chance on it,” said Day Phillips. “This race just seemed to make sense.”
The winner paid $4.80, $2.70 and $2.80. She combined with Strike Me Down ($3.10, $2.80) for a 3-8 exacta worth $15.10. A $2 trifecta of 3-8-12 (Rose’s Vision, $7.10) paid $135.90 and a $1 superfecta of 3-8-12-11 (Cooler Mike) returned $242.55.