TORONTO, November 2, 2019 – Rallying through the pack from last to first, Lift Up delivered on her pari-mutuel promise with a masterful ride from Patrick Husbands in the $125,000 Maple Leaf Stakes (Grade 3) for trainer Michael Dickinson on Saturday at Woodbine Racetrack.
Owned by Augustin Stables, Dickinson trainees Lift Up and Theodora B. finished first and third in the 1-1/4-mile main track feature, with the Mark Casse-conditioned She’s the Berries picking up second-place honours.
Lift Up trailed the field of nine distaffers by four lengths out of the gate while Theodora B. crossed to command early and set fractions of :24.83, :50.20 and 1:14.83 before the other Casse trainee, Miss Mo Mentum, laid on the pressure and drew even with the front-runner on the final turn.
Theodora B. managed to shake off that challenger past the mile mark in 1:39.07, but the late-closers were coming.
She’s the Berries, fresh off a late September stakes win in the Classy ‘N Smart, angled outside off a ground-saving trip while early trailer Lift Up threaded rivals down the lane and drew 1-1/4 lengths clear to score in a final time of 2:04.23. She’s the Berries nosed out Theodora B. in a photo for place.
“Just looking in the Racing Form, there’s enough speed in there and she’s the type of filly that you’ve got to get shut off at the start,” said Husbands. “She shut off and I was just watching those guys the whole way. And when you’re coming, you’ve got to come. You’ve got to try to get through the crowd, you don’t want to go around. So, I saved all the ground and kept my eyes on the horses who were stopping in front and I just found my way through.”
Lift Up was a close runner-up in last year’s edition of the Maple Leaf with Husbands aboard and had capped off a summer stakes double in the Belle Mahone at Woodbine on September 8, defeating She’s the Berries by a neck.
Back on Woodbine’s Tapeta course, the five-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper was the public’s choice at 9-5, and Husbands’ pick of the two stablemates.
“Patrick rode Theodora last time,” said Dickinson, referring to Theodora’s third-place finish in the HBPA Stakes on Oct. 17 over Presque Isle Downs. “I gave him the choice and I said, ‘In the mornings at home, Theodora is way better than Lift Up… way better.’ So, I said, ‘Do you want to ride Theodora?’ ‘No,’ he said, ‘Lift Up, Lift Up and Lift Up.’ I said, ‘Well, you’re making a big mistake, you know, because Theodora is the best.’ But he rode her beautifully, didn’t he? He’s an artist.
“You’ve got so many good jockeys here at Woodbine,” continued the Tapeta inventor. “We like coming here because you have good tracks and you have good jockeys – a great jockey colony. The only problem is your trainers are pretty good and they’re tough to beat.”
Lift Up earned her eighth career win from 19 starts and lifted her bankroll over the $400,000 mark.
The victory for Husbands marked his 19th in stakes action at the Woodbine meet.
“I’m proud to be at Woodbine riding,” said Husbands. “Woodbine is my whole life. It’s a great honour that all the trainers stick with me and everything has come through.”
Live Thoroughbred racing resumes at Woodbine on Sunday afternoon, featuring the $175,000 Autumn Stakes (Grade 2) and $100,000 Glorious Song Stakes. First race post time is set for 1:05 p.m.