TORONTO, August 7, 2019 – After two trips over the Tapeta, the Canadian Triple Tiara shifts surfaces to the world renowned E.P. Taylor Turf Course for Saturday’s $225,000 Wonder Where Stakes, at Woodbine.
Contested at 1 ¼-miles, the Wonder Where drew seven starters, including Desert Ride, winner of the Woodbine Oaks presented by Budweiser, first jewel in the series, and Speedy Soul, who took the second jewel, the Bison City Stakes, on June 30.
A bay daughter of Candy Ride, Desert Ride enters Saturday’s feature off a fifth-place performance to One Bad Boy in the 160th edition of the Queen’s Plate on June 29.
The Sam-Son Farm homebred has recorded three wins and a second from five starts, including an impressive rally to take the Oaks by a neck over a game Bold Script. Speedy Soul was third.
“She’s coming into this race doing really well,” said trainer Neil Howard. “I’ve been really happy with her. Her effort in the Oaks was fantastic. She’s so classy and she’s been a model of consistency.”
Unraced at two, Desert Ride won her career bow on January 17 at Fair Grounds.
Sent off at 6-1, the Ontario-bred got off to a slow start, and was last of 11 at the quarter-mile mark in the ‘about’ one-mile grass race. Tenth at the half-mile call and fourth at the stretch, Desert Ride closed strongly to post a 1 ¼-length victory.
After a second in her next start, also at Fair Grounds, Desert Ride won an allowance race at Keeneland on April 18, one race prior to winning the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks on June 29.
“For me, it’s so hard to come by the good ones. But to be part of this for Sam-Son… I have such a great respect for owners in this business. When you have any kind of success for any of them, especially for what they put into it, that’s the most rewarding part for me, to be honest.”
As for the Plate, Howard was pleased, albeit not surprised that his filly gave everything she had in the 1 ¼-mile classic.
“She ran well. Sometimes you get into situations where there is an opportunity to run in a major race, in this case, Canada’s greatest race, and in this instance, there was only three weeks between the Oaks and the Plate. We knew it was going to be a question mark – a big question – but she ran well. It was a tough race on a short turnaround.
“On the flip side, she’s had the requisite time off now and we’re looking forward to getting her back on the grass. She’s just been an all-around great horse for us.”
Speedy Soul, trained by Mark Casse and bred and owned by Joey Gee Thoroughbreds, arrives at the Oaks off a second-place finish in the Grade 3 Ontario Colleen Stakes on July 20.
The daughter of Souper Speedy owns a record of 4-1-1 in seven starts. Last year’s Muskoka Stakes champion will now chase her third career added-money win. This May, the dark bay took the Fury Stakes.
In 2018, Avie’s Mineshaft, bred in Ontario by Ivan Dalos’ Tall Oaks Farm, won the Wonder Where.
The race is named in honour of the champion filly, Wonder Where, Canada’s 1959 Horse of the Year and Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame inductee.
The stakes is slated as Race 9 on Saturday. First post on the 11-race card is 1:05 p.m.
Fans can watch and wager on all the action via HPIbet.com.
FIELD FOR THE $225,000 WONDER WHERE STAKES
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – Speedy Soul – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse
2 – Niigon’s Spin – Jesse Campbell – Stuart Simon
3 – Court Return – Luis Contreras – Josie Carroll
4 – Preferred Guest – Jerome Lermyte – Mark Casse
5 – Desert Ride – Steven Bahen – Neil Howard
6 – Sport’n Forty – Rafael Hernandez – Roger Attfield
7 – Grand Mesa – Daisuke Fukumoto – Michael De Paulo