TORONTO, October 22, 2021 – The Ontario Sire Heritage Series continued Friday at Woodbine with Lorena capturing the $80,000 Thunder Bay Stakes.
The seven-furlong turf event is part of an eight-leg stakes series open to Ontario Sired three-year-olds, held at Woodbine and Fort Erie racetracks.
Ontario Racing and its Thoroughbred Improvement Program (TIP) Committee unveiled the series in March. With a total purse structure of $750,000, the Heritage Series features a total of four races – three opening legs and one final – for both three-year-old colts and three-year-old fillies that are sustained to the Ontario Sires Stakes program.
Sent off as the 6-5 choice in the Thunder Bay, for fillies, Lorena, under Gary Boulanger, broke alertly and was quickly joined to the inside by Cleomenes, as the pacesetting pair took their four rivals through an opening quarter in :24.32.
The duo continued their front-end duel through a half-mile in :48.62, as Sunsprite loomed a threat to their outside while Meet the Soprano, benefitting from a ground-saving trip, was also positioned for a late charge.
As the field straightened for home, Cleomenes clung to the lead as Loren began to dial-up the pressure to the outside, with the latter striking front in early stretch.
Jilli Mari burst onto the scene and took aim at the daughter of Souper Speedy-Negotiable, but couldn’t get by, finishing a 1 ¼-length behind the winner. Meet the Soprano was third. Red Equinox and Imaginary Sky were both scratched.
The final time for seven panels over an E.P. Taylor Turf Course listed as ‘good’ was 1:25.54.
Lorena paid $4.40 for the win.
“I mean, she’s a really special filly,” praised Boulanger. “It took a couple races to really figure her out. By taking her off the pace, she showed me so much. When she gets to the turn she relaxes too much. That’s what happened during the last race (fifth, in the Duchess Stakes on September 25). We got to the turn and I couldn’t get her going. And so today we hit the turn, she did it again and I started picking at her. I was like, ‘No, no, we can’t, we can’t be backing off here.’ As soon as she switched back to the right lead, it’s just boom, big gear. So, we’ve both been learning about each other.
“She’s a determined filly. You can put her in a battle and you better bring a big one to get by her. On the turf, she handled it very well. I don’t know behind me how they’re handling it, but she got over very well.”
Bred by Dr. Liam Gannon, the dark bay, trained by Stuart Simon, who co-owns with Brent and Russell McLellan, and Kai Olguin, is now 5-0-0 from seven career starts.
It was the third stakes score for Lorena, who took the Fury in July and the Algoma in August.