TORONTO, July 1, 2018 – One day after watching Wonder Gadot wow the crowd by winning the Queen’s Plate, owner Gary Barber and trainer Mark Casse had another filly come up with a sensational effort, as Safe to Say took the $225,000 Bison City Stakes, Sunday at Woodbine.
The mile and one-sixteenth Bison City, the second leg of the Triple Tiara for Canadian-foaled three-year-old fillies, was missing Wonder Gadot, who made all the headlines yesterday for her impressive score in the 159th running of the Gallop for the Guineas.
What today’s feature wasn’t missing, however, was a thrilling finish.
Safe to Say, also co-owned by Jeff Begg of Windways Farm, came into the Bison City off a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Selene Stakes on May 19 at the Toronto oval.
On Sunday, the daughter of Justin Phillip brought her A-game.
Eurico Rosa da Silva sent Katie Baby immediately to the front, taking her six rivals (My Borrowed Angel was scratched) through brisk early splits of :23.95, :48.28 and 1:12.72, while Jerome Lermyte, aboard Safe to Say, stayed patient and waited for the moment to make his run.
As the field turned for home, da Silva urged Katie Baby to sprint away from her foes, but the hard-charging duo of Avie’s Mineshaft and Safe to Say, both to their outside, came calling in late stretch.
At the wire, Safe to Say bested Avie’s Mineshaft by a neck. A game Katie Baby was a head back in third.
The final time over the Tapeta was 1:44.41.
“We didn’t want to get in traffic trouble,” said Lermyte. “The race unfolded perfectly. When we asked her, she delivered a nice fight and she went all the way. We are very happy today.”
Casse, who celebrated his fourth Bison City crown, including last year with Enstone, was understandably thrilled with a return trip to the Woodbine winner’s circle.
“I think we kind of picked this out and said this was the race,” he noted of the decision to run in the Bison City. “She has improved this year. It was a great ride by Jerome. He’s a very good rider. He just tries so hard. I’m proud of her and I’m proud of him.”
Begg was equally pleased with the gutsy effort of the bay bred by Bay Ridge Orchards Limited.
“She’s always been a pretty nice filly, but just couldn’t quite find the exact thing for her,” he said. “I think she’s a seven-eighths to a mile horse. That’s why we passed the Woodbine Oaks and we came here, it’s a little shorter. She showed some form on the turf, so we might head that direction as well. She just seems like she’s put it together this year.”
It was the third win from nine starts for Safe to Say, who also sports a trio of thirds for her connections.
The third and final leg in the Triple Tiara series is the $225,000 Wonder Where Stakes, at one mile and one-quarter over the Toronto oval’s E.P. Taylor turf, on August 12. Dixie Moon captured the first leg of the Triple Tiara, the Woodbine Oaks, presented by Budweiser.
Safe to Say returned $13.40, $5.70 and $3.70, combining with Avie’s Mineshaft ($4.80, $3.20) for a $50.90 (4-8) exactor. A 4-8-1 (Katie Baby, $2.90) triactor paid $259.20, while a $1 Superfecta [4-8-1-2 (Hot Cash)] was worth $280.40.