Improving Unspurned made every pole a winning one to post a 2 1/4-length win in the $232,875 Bison City Stakes (VIDEO), the second jewel of the Canadian Triple Tiara for 3-year-old fillies at Woodbine July 13.
Rebounding from a fifth in the series-opening Woodbine Oaks, Presented by Budweiser, 5-1 shot Unspurned set a swift pace over the Polytrack. After being challenged, she drew away in the stretch for jockey Justin Stein, who has ridden the filly in all of her races for trainer Roger Attfield.
Christine Hayden's chestnut homebred by Lemon Drop Kid out of stakes winner Banga Ridge, by Snow Ridge, arrived at the wire in the 1 1/16-mile test for Canadian-foaled fillies in 1:45.47.
Unspurned earned her first stakes win, with Hot and Spicy second and Paladin Bay well back in third.
Following the scratch of My Heart's Love, all five remaining Bison City starters had last run in the Oaks. Wild Catomine, runner-up in the June 15 test to eventual Queen's Plate winner Lexie Lou, was sent to post as the 6-5 favorite.
Hot and Spicy broke sharply from the gate under rider Luis Contreras and dueled early before Unspurned and Wild Catomine took over the fight on the first turn and Hot and Spicy settled into third.
After a :23.73 opening quarter mile, Unspurned would take command down the backstretch reaching the half-mile in :46.53 and three-quarters in 1:10.91 with a three-length lead. Wild Catomine and Hot and Spicy continued to track the leader and Hot and Spicy was urged along by Contreras through the turn and took aim at Unspurned.
Unspurned turned back the threat leaving midstretch and powered to the wire well clear. Hot and Spicy stayed on for the place, 6 3/4 lengths clear over Paladin Bay. Wild Catomine and Call Her Karma trailed.
"I have a lot of faith in this barn's ability to have a horse ready on the right day," said Stein. "I wasn't too worried about being on the lead with her; she was just loping within herself. I was really surprised to see the fractions that we set. We had a nice breather turning for home and she stayed steady."
Unspurned, noted as being warm in the paddock on Oaks day, was saddled outside in the walking ring this afternoon by Attfield.
"She just didn't feel comfortable in there (the paddock). She wasn't shaky, to be honest with you, she was just hot, but I thought there was a lovely breeze today and we decided to saddle her outside," said Attfield.
Battling to take the lead was part of Attfield and Stein's plan of attack.
"She's a very competitive filly and we talked about how the race might come up and it virtually went the way we worked it out," said Attfield. "We just let her run her race because that's what she likes to do and when that gray filly (Hot and Spicy) came to her she just dug back in again. She's a tough little filly."
Placed in both the Mazarine Stakes (Can-III) and Princess Elizabeth at 2, Unspurned extended her earnings to $287,984 while improving her record to 3-1-1 from seven starts.
Under equal weights of 121 pounds, Unspurned raced without Lasix and paid $13.80, $6.50 and $4.50, combining with Hot and Spicy ($4.90, $4.20) for a $65.50 exacta. Paladin Bay ($3.20) rounded out a trifecta worth $134.50.