John C. Oxley’s Northern Passion was up in the final stride to collar Why Katherine in Saturday’s $125,400 Zadracarta Stakes, at Woodbine.
Northern Passion, trained by Mark Casse and confidently ridden by Luis Contreras, saved ground near the back of the nine-horse field in the seven furlong turf stake and needed every inch of the expansive E.P. Taylor Turf Course to score a neck victory.
Moonlit Beauty, who won the 2010 edition of the Zadracarta, went to the lead with a purpose setting a quarter in :22.81 and a half in :46.45 with Daylight Cat, Dance to the Moon and Evil Kitten stalking her speed.
The field converged on Moonlit Beauty at the top of the lane with Why Katherine surging to the point, but she could not repel the advancing Northern Passion who tipped off the rail and rallied for the win in a final running time of 1:23.11.
Northern Passion, who captured the Grade 3 Natalma on the Woodbine lawn as a juvenile, once again showed her affinity for the turf.
“She loves this turf and feels very confident on this turf course. She was just the best,” said Contreras.
A daughter of First Samurai, Northern Passion came into the Zadracarta off a pair of troubled trips. In the Grade 3 Whimsical Stakes, she stumbled while rallying to be fourth; and in the Grade 2 Nassau Stakes, Northern Passion was bumped en route to a third-place finish.
“We were hoping for good things today and she finally got the luck she needed,” said assistant trainer Kathryn Sullivan. “It’s been a little frustrating because she’s been good coming off the layoff, but has had some bad luck. Today, it all came together.”
Northern Passion banked $75,000 in victory, while improving her record to 4-2-1 from 11 career starts.
She returned $4.30, $3.30 and $2.30, pairing with Why Katherine ($6.30, $4.10) for a $31.30 (1-4) exactor. A 1-4-9 (Evil Kitten, $3 to show) triactor was worth $113.50. Moonlit Beauty completed a $1 Superfecta (1-4-9-8) worth $376.15.