Ellan Vannin, expertly handled by Jeffrey Alderson, found racing room late in the lane and drew off to win Wednesday night’s $150,000 Ontario Lassie Stakes, at Woodbine.
Trained by Tony M. Gattellaro for owner Jonathan Lee, Ellan Vannin was a 36-1 upset winner in her November 19 debut, but she proved her class with a determined stretch run in the 1 1/16-mile Tapeta route for Ontario-bred juvenile fillies to provide her trainer with a first stakes win.
“It unfolded like we thought it would. We figured there would be a little speed up front and, to be honest, I left it up to Jeffrey and he rode a great race,” said Gattellaro. “When they were at the quarter pole, I could see he had a lot of horse and just like her last race I was hoping he could find a hole. Once the hole opened up we could see what she’s all about.”
Silver Princess went for broke in the in the Ontario Lassie opening up a 14-length lead through splits of :23.43 and :46.05 with Sassy Ombre and Green Freedom in the role of distant stalkers.
The field converged on Silver Princess late in the turn and Cindervella emerged with the lead, but Ellan Vannin, waiting for room behind a wall of rivals, was angled outside by Alderson and rallied home a 2 1/2-length winner. Cindervella stayed on for place, another 2 ½-lengths in front of the favoured Missy Crissy. Ellan Vannin covered 1 1/16-miles in 1:45.05.
The Ontario Lassie marked Ellan Vannin’s first trip around two turns.
“In the back of my mind I knew she was a two-turn horse. She trains like that and actually gets stronger as she trains in the morning, ” said Gattellaro.
The victory marked the first the second career stakes win for jockey Alderson who notched his first added-money score earlier this year with Hopping Not Hoping in the Shady Well Stakes.
“Jeffrey is wonderful. I pegged him at the start of the year as one for the future. I love his riding style. He’s very athletic and that’s why I picked him to ride these nice two-year-olds I have,” said Gattellaro.
The chestnut daughter of Spring At Last will be among the top contenders for next year’s Woodbine Oaks.
“That’s what we’re gearing towards. We’ll take her down south and start prepping for that,” said Gattellaro.
Ellan Vannin, bred in Ontario by Phoenix Rising Farms, banked $90,000 in victory while improving her record to two wins in as many starts.
She paid $8.70, $4.50 and $3.30, combining with Cindervella ($4.20, $2.50) for a $36.10 (8-3) exacta. An 8-3-1 trifecta (Missy Crissy, $2.40 to show) was worth $100.80 while a $1 Superfecta [8-3-1-6 (Crumlin Spirit)] came back $285.60.