Ivan Dalos’ homebred Elusive Collection, ridden by Luis Contreras, followed up on her sensational debut by winning the featured $105,800 Etobicoke Stakes, Sunday at Woodbine.
The victory was a hard-fought one, though, as the heavy favourite was only able to get by a very game pacesetter Pohdi Pohdi in the closing jumps to prevail by a neck.
The Etobicoke, for three-year-old fillies over six furlongs on the Polytrack, drew five hopefuls, but Elusive Collection, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Elusive Quality-Recollect, was pounded to 1-2 based on her opener, a scintillating performance on August 9 when recording a 98 Beyer Speed figure.
There was also another undefeated filly in the field, Sam-Son Farm’s stakes-winning Ready for Romance, but she faded down the stretch to finish fourth.
Dual stakes winner Pohdi Pohdi, equipped with blinkers and jockey Gary Boulanger, led for almost the entire trip, cutting out fractions of :22.91 and :45.62. Meanwhile Contreras had placed Elusive Collection in third on the outside as the leaders swung for home.
Elusive Collection came to Pohdi Pohdi in mid-stretch and looked like she’d pull away but the pacesetter hung tough before being passed near the wire. The final time was 1:09.12. Her Majesty’s Flag finished third, three and one-half lengths further back.
“My filly is so nice right now. She was very relaxed early and by the far turn I started to make my move,” said Contreras. “She’s very impressive. I like her a lot.”
Trained by Josie Carroll, Elusive Collection was the second stakes winner of the week for the trio, as another Dalos homebred, Amis Gizmo, won the OLG Simcoe Stakes on Wednesday night with Contreras aboard.
“Elusive Quality was a little fussy,” explained Dalos. “This is the second Elusive Quality I have and they both show the same kind of tendencies.”
Elusive Collection returned $3.10, $2.30 and $2.10, combining with Pohdi Pohdi ($4.30, $3.10) for a $12.50 (5-1) exactor. A 5-1-3 (Her Majesty’s Flag, $3.50) triactor was worth $37.20.