Paladin Bay, ridden by Gerry Olguin, battled back gamely on the inside to win the featured $150,000 Ontario Lassie Stakes, Saturday at Woodbine.
At the finish of the mile and one-sixteenth contest for Ontario-bred two-year-old fillies, Paladin Bay, trained by Harold Ladouceur for owner Jessie Ladouceur, emerged a neck winner over Splashy Gizmo in a three-horse photo, with odds-on Lexie Lou a nose further back between horses. The final time over the Polytrack was 1:47.62.
Lexie Lou and jockey Gary Boulanger set the early fractions, taking the field of six through an opening quarter in :24.20 and the half in :49.21.
But Paladin Bay, the 2-1 second choice, had been stalking throughout and suddenly slipped through on the rail to take a narrow lead midway around the far turn after six furlongs were clocked in 1:14.71.
Not surprisingly, it appeared the stage was set for another stretch battle between Paladin Bay and Lexie Lou, who had faced each other on five previous occasions, with Paladin Bay holding a 3-2 edge. Both were also carrying topweight of 123 pounds today.
However, third choice Splashy Gizmo then appeared on the scene on the outside at the sixteenth pole to challenge the duo and looked poised to go on by. But the front runners fought back, with Paladin Bay coming on again on the inside for the gutsy win.
The remarkably consistent daughter of Sligo Bay-Stormin Wife, a $10,000 yearling purchase at the 2012 Canadian September Sale, was notching her third victory in nine starts and her second stakes score, after taking the prestigious $250,000 Princess Elizabeth on November 2 when decisioning Lexie Lou. She’s also never been worse than fourth, that in her debut back in June.
Paladin Bay came into the Ontario Lassie off a runner-up finish to rival Lexie Lou in the mile and one-sixteenth South Ocean Stakes, November 24.
With the $90,000 winner’s share, Paladin Bay pushed her bankroll to $378,500 in a remarkable juvenile campaign.
Paladin Bay paid $6.30, $3.40 and $2.10, combining with Splashy Gizmo ($5.90, $2.90) for a $39.80 (3-6) exactor. A 3-6-1 (Lexie Lou, $2.10) triactor was worth $60.