La Tia made every pole a winning one to capture the co-featured Grade 3 $155,800 Ontario Matron Stakes for fillies and mares, Saturday at Woodbine.
Trained by Armando De la Cerda, the Salvador Hernandez homebred set sharp splits of :24.42 and :48.36 opening up a five-length lead down the backstretch under Justin Stein in the 1 1/16-miles ‘Poly’ stake.
Royal Fury rallied into contention through the turn with Spring in the Air and Northern Passion following their lead, but there was no reeling in a runaway La Tia who notched a 6 1/4-length victory in 1:42.70, just shy of True Metropolitan’s track record time of 1:42.22. Royal Fury won the place battle over Northern Passion.
Stein, aboard the five-year-old mare for the second time, was comfortable leading up to the race.
“She was really relaxed. I let her have a little gallop in the warm up and she was happy to do that. She’s just one of those horses that wants to go about her business and she wanted to get going,” said Stein.
In his previous mount with La Tia, on September 23, 2012, Stein won a dramatic edition of the La Lorgnette Stakes after the front-running filly darted to the rail in the final furlong.
“She bounced herself off the fence and stopped and four horses went by her,” recalled Stein. “But, she saw the competition leaving her and she took off like a quarter horse and won that race easily.”
The dark bay daughter of City Place-La Adelita, bred in Illinois, has a nose for the finish line with a record of 8-1-4 from 19 starts. It was the second stakes win of the season for La Tia having captured the Grade 3 Arlington Matron on May 24.
La Tia earned $90,000 in victory, taking her graded stakes tally to three including her Grade 3 Arlington Matron and Grade 3 Arlington Oaks scores.
She paid $6.70, $4.10 and $2.90, combining with Royal Fury ($7.30, $3.70) for a $35.90 (5-4) exactor. A 5-4-8 (Northern Passion, $4.30) triactor was worth $189.40, while a $1 Superfecta [5-4-8-9 (Spring in the Air)] came back $421.80.