Colonial Flag, trained by Michael Matz and ridden by Joe Rocco Jr., came flying in mid-stretch to haul down Evil Kitten and win Saturday’s featured $161,300 Ontario Colleen Stakes at Woodbine.
Mid-pack for most of the one-mile turf stake for three-year-old fillies, Colonial Flag, sent postward a lukewarm 5-2 choice, unfurled her late charge to win by one length over 20-1 Evil Kitten, with Runfor Ro third, just three-quarters of a length further back. The final time over a firm E.P.Taylor Turf Course was 1:35.15.
Meanwhile, Blue Heart, a close second choice at 3-1, appeared poised on the far outside at the top of the stretch to take on the leaders, but faded down the lane to finish a disappointing eighth.
Actionontwo had taken the field of 10 through an opening quarter in 23:81, a half in 47:72 and was still in front, but barely, as the field straightened away in the lane after clocking three-quarters in 1:11.71. But she was then engulfed by Evil Kitten and jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva, before the winner sailed by late for the victory.
It was the third win in six starts this year, all on grass, for Colonial Flag, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Pleasant Tap, after not racing as a two-year-old. Incredibly, she’s also competed at six different tracks, debuting at Gulfstream Park in January, breaking her maiden at Keeneland, winning an optional allowance tilt at Belmont Park, finishing third in the Grade 3 Regret at Churchill Downs, before her eighth-place finish to multiple stakes winner Lady of Shamrock in the Grade 1 American Oaks, July 14 at Hollywood Park.
It was the first visit to Woodbine for jockey Rocco Jr., who was also riding the filly for the first time.
“The last few years, Michael (Matz) has been very kind to me. He’s put me on quite a few nice horses,” explained Rocco Jr. “I’m very thankful to him and the owners for giving me a chance to come up here and ride her today.
“I breezed her last week at Fair Hill and she went really nice, so I was excited to make the trip.
“She seemed to take to it (Woodbine’s renowned turf course) very well. The whole way I had horse and it was just a question of when to ask her to go.”
Colonial Flag, co-owned by Skara Glen Stable, W.S. Farish and ENL Stables, picked up $90,000 for the win to push her career bankroll to $188,075.
As the modest favourite, Colonial Flag returned $7.80, $5 and $3.60, combining with Evil Kitten ($15.30, $6.70) for a $132.60 (6-10) exactor. A 6-10-4 (Runfor Ro, $4.40 to show) triactor came back $997.90, while a $1 Superfecta [6-10-4-1 (Poetic Kid)] was worth a whopping $7,014.80.