Free Fee Lady's game victory in the $243,904 Wonder Where Stakes (VIDEO) gave the daughter of Victory Gallop two jewels in Canada's Triple Tiara for 3-year-old fillies Aug. 1 at Woodbine.
Making her first start on the turf, Free Fee Lady, ridden by Emma-Jayne Wilson held off the late charge of Happy Clapper to win the 1 1/4-mile test of Canadian-foaled fillies by a neck. Free Fee Lady won the middle leg of the Canadian series, the Bison City Stakes, July 11 on Woodbine's Polytrack by four lengths.
It was also the third consecutive win for Free Fee Lady, who didn’t contest the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks, presented by Budweiser. That nine-furlong Polytrack event was taken by Roan Inish June 13.
Free Fee Lady, the 17-10 second choice in the Wonder Where, wore down 9-1 shot Bodua to take a one-length lead at the eighth pole. She had to dig in, however, to hold off the rallying Happy Clapper under steady handling. Happy Clapper, in her stakes debut, rallied from sixth for jockey Slade Callaghan to make it tight at the end.
Bodua, who settled for third, a half-length farther back, carved soft early splits of :25.33 and :49.92 and 1:15.11. Bodua bested slight 3-2 favorite Somme by a neck for third. Somme, in a good stalking position in the stretch, launched an all-out bid but faltered late.
The winning time was 2:03.40 over firm going.
Wilson, who was also aboard for the Bison City triumph, was happy to see the Alberta-bred dig in when challenged late.
"Down the backside, I thought she’d just gallop,” offered trainer Reade Baker. “I thought she’d win easy. But she got a heck of ride to win. They were closing in on her.”
The Wonder Where was just the fourth start for the Harlequin Ranches silk-bearer, who lost by a neck in her career bow on May 22 before launching her win streak. She started with a 1 ½-length victory over maidens at seven panels on the Woodbine Polytrack on June 20.
Not bad for a horse Baker didn’t initially expect to be a stakes winner.
“Leroy (Trotman), my assistant, did (have high hopes),” admitted Baker. “I was going to run her for a tag the first time. She only cost $25,000. I didn’t think she was that good. But after her first race, there wasn’t going to be any claiming.”
Highfield Stock Farm and David Munro bred the winning dark bay or brown filly. Out of the Slew o' Gold mare Atocha Queen, she sold for $28,548 at auction in Alberta as a yearling.
Free Fee Lady paid $5.50, $4.40 and $3.90 for the win, combining with Happy Clapper ($14, $6.30) for a $63.10 exacta. Bodua ($5.40) completed a $304 trifecta.