TORONTO, April 23 – Sam-Son Farm’s Southern Ring broke sharply and fended off all foes late on her way to an impressive one-length win in Sunday’s Grade 3, $147,250 Whimsical Stakes, at Woodbine.
Trained by Malcolm Pierce, the bay daughter of Speightstown arrived at the six-furlong main track sprint off a third-place effort in the Minaret Stakes on February 18 at Tampa Bay Downs.
The now five-year-old Southern Ring dialed up her third career stakes score (2015 Ruling Angel and last year’s Grade 3 Ontario Fashion). She boasts five wins, two seconds and a third from 10 starts.
Eurico Rosa da Silva and Southern Ring took charge immediately with Skylander Girl applying outside pressure. Newly-minted Canadian Horse of the Year, Caren, was settled in third behind the frontrunners as Southern Ring cut an early clip of :23.17.
Southern Ring, still under siege, was a head in front through half mile in :45.77 as Skylander Girl attempted to cut into the lead, while River Maid started to make an outside bid. Southern Ring continued to dig in and turned away all rivals for her fifth career score. River Maid won a photo for place over U.S. invader Euroboss. Caren, making her seasonal debut, was fifth. The final time for six furlongs was 1:09.70.
Reigning Woodbine title holder da Silva, who also earned the 2016 Sovereign for champion rider, was full of praise for the gritty performance.
“We love to see her in a stalking position because she relaxes a lot when she has a horse to look at,” he said. “But she broke very sharp today. She was very, very relaxed. When I needed her, I had lots in the tank.
“I believe six furlongs is her best distance, maybe six-and-a-half,” he continued. “I love to see her run three-quarters.”
Trainer Malcolm Pierce was happy to see his star pupil back on the Toronto oval Tapeta after a fourth-place performance in the Lightning City Stakes on December 17 and the third in the Minaret, both contested at Tampa.
“I really don’t think she’s a dirt horse at all,” offered Pierce. “She came back to the barn after that race (the Minaret) and drank a lot of water. I know she was fit for the race, so the only excuse was that horses that come back as tired as she did off the dirt is that they’re not handling the surface that well.”
There could also be some grass dates in Southern Ring’s future.
“I was really looking forward to her running in the Royal North on the turf, six furlongs, last year,” said Pierce. “She had a little injury in the stall before that race and we missed the race. Maybe we’ll make it this year.”
Southern Ring paid $4.50, $2.50 and $2.30, combining with River Maid ($3, $2.60) for a $12.30 (6-8) exactor. A 6-8-2 triactor (Euroboss) was worth $65.30. A $1 Superfecta (Galina Point) returned $86.25.