Minakshi wins the Canadian Stakes.

Minakshi wins the Canadian Stakes.

Michael Burns

Minakshi Breaks Through in Canadian Stakes

French mare had placed in four stakes races before her Sept. 15 win at Woodbine.

After knocking on the door in four stakes starts since her arrival from her native France, Minakshi secured the first stakes victory of her career Sept. 15 in the $295,952 Canadian Stakes (Can-IIT) at Woodbine (VIDEO).

After racing sixth of nine through the far turn of the 1 1/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares, Minakshi delivered a sustained stretch rally to register a half-length score over runner-up Colonial Flag, who completed an exacta for trainer Michael Matz.

The Canadian Stakes is a "Win & You're In" challenge race for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) Nov. 2 at Santa Anita Park. It guarantees Minakshi a fees-paid start in the championship event along with a travel allowance.

Minakshi started her career in France where the daughter of Footstepsinthesand won four of 13 starts and placed in a stakes at Chantilly racing for the Ehrnrooth family.

Moved to North America and the Ehrnrooth's Northern Bloodstock operation for the 2013 campaign, she registered placings without a win in the Owsley Stakes, Sheepshead Bay Stakes (gr. II), and Matchmaker Stakes (gr. III), where she finished third July 28 at Monmouth Park in her previous start. She also finished a close fourth in the New York Stakes (gr. II) June 29 at Belmont Park.

Minakshi, racing without Lasix under 114 pounds, returned $16.20 to win, $9 to place, and $6.50 to show. The Matz exacta returned $113.60 as 10-1 shot Colonial Flag, who entered off a victory in the Rosenna Stakes Aug. 17 at Delaware Park, paid $10.10 to place and $6.40 to show. Regis Racing longshot Moment of Majesty returned $8.50 to show.

"She had a wonderful trip up," said Joy Cooper, assistant to Matz. "She's a bit of a quirky filly so you got to be really patient with her. She has to have the pony in the paddock and you just hope everything goes her way because the switch can flip and she can lose it so it is more so just trying to let things go her way."

Early runner La Tia broke well and quickly opened a two-length lead but she was engaged by Ladys First along the rail as La Tia led through a quarter-mile in :23.53. Those two powered through a second quarter-mile in :23, for a half-mile time of :46.53, setting things up for the race's late runners.

Minakshi completed the 1 1/8-mile race in 1:44.05 on firm turf for jockey Luis Contreras.

"I got a nice stalking trip," Contreras said. "My filly relaxed really nicely for me. Michael (trainer Matz) told me in the morning that the horse can be on the lead but she relaxes better and she relaxed for me nice. I just angled outside in the quarter pole and she just gave me everything and I got more horse at the end."

Bred in France by Elevage Haras de Bourgeauville, Minakshi is out of the stakes-placed Machiavellian mare Maria de La Cruz. She has won five of 18 career starts with two seconds and three thirds, good for earnings of $339,531.