Dixie Moon closed out her juvenile campaign with an exciting victory in the $125,000 Ontario Lassie Stakes for Ontario-bred two-year-old fillies on Sunday afternoon at Woodbine.
Trained by Catherine Day Phillips for owners Sean & Dorothy Fitzhenry, Dixie Moon prevailed in a photo finish back at Woodbine for the 1-1/16 miles stakes following a trip to the Breeders’ Cup. Backed by the betting public, she was sent postward as the overwhelming favourite at odds 1-2 with Woodbine’s meet-leading jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva aboard.
Racing two and three-wide, Dixie Moon and Loopety Loo forged ahead of the leading supplemental entry Fairy Hill after early panels of :25.84 and :51.04. Those two fillies battled past three-quarters in 1:14.61 with Dixie Moon pulling ahead in the stretch, but her work was not done. Queen’s Fate came charging home off a ground-saving trip to make it a photo finish. Hitting the wire in 1:45.43, Dixie Moon held off Queen’s Fate by a nose for the victory while Loopety Loo settled for third three lengths behind.
“She’s a tremendous filly,” said Day Phillips of her trainee. “She came back from the Breeders’ Cup in really good order and I’m just glad she got the chance to show everybody how nice she actually is.”
The homebred Curlin-Dixie Chicken filly, who finished sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Del Mar last month, picked up her second stakes victory to go along with the Cup and Saucer Stakes title that she earned on October 8 at Woodbine. Dixie Moon is now a three-time winner and graded stakes placed in the Natalma (Grade 1) with more than $275,000 in earnings from five starts.
“She’s had a long campaign and I think that maybe showed on her a little bit today, but she’s had a long campaign and she showed up every time,” said Day Phillips, who reported that Dixie Moon will join her stable at Palm Meadows in Florida for the winter after a four-week break.
With Dixie Moon and three-year-old stakes winner Mr Havercamp among of her stable’s starring line-up, Day Phillips has earned a career-high 24 training wins this year, including six stakes victories.
“We knew we had nice two-year-olds,” said Day Phillips of her expectations heading into the 2017 season. “I think in June when we were doing really well going into Queen’s Plate, I don’t know that we would see it was a completely different line-up by the end of the fall that would be doing so well. That was a little bit unexpected, but we’ll have some of those horses back from earlier this year and these ones hopefully for next year as well.”
Meanwhile, the victory for Da Silva was his 34th stakes win of the meet, leaving him two wins shy of matching the record for most stakes titles in a meet at Woodbine with just a pair of stakes remaining this year.
Dixie Moon paid $3 to win and $2.20 to place. There was no show wagering. She combined with Queen’s Fate ($3.60 to place) for a 6-1 exacta worth $9.20. A $1 trifecta of 6-1-7 (Loopety Loo) paid $24.45 and a $1 superfecta of 6-1-7-3 (Gosudarina) returned $93.10. Lunar Garden, Safe to Say and Fairy Hill completed the field.