Odds-on choice Sisterly Love made every pole a winning one as she registered her first graded stakes win in the $146,123 Ontario Matron Stakes (Can-III) June 20 at Woodbine (VIDEO).
Eurico Rosa da Silva was aboard the sharp 5-year-old mare Sisterly Love, who was back on Woodbine's Polytrack following an 8 1/2-length win in the Trillium Stakes June 8.
Trainer Mark Casse, who conditions Sisterly Love for owner Gary Barber, locked up the first two spots in the Matron as Eugene Melnyk's Eagle Hall rallied from last along the inside to finish second, 3 1/2 lengths behind her stablemate. The final time was a solid 1:43.41 for 1 1/16 miles.
Kinsman Farm bred Sisterly Love in Kentucky. The bay is by Bellamy Road out of the Dixieland Band mare Odylic.
The 4-5 selection in the field of seven older fillies and mares, Sisterly Love went to the front soon after the start and assumed command over Logan's Peak, Yellow Boat, and Welcome Dance while posting fractions of :24.03, :48.38, and 1.12.05. Yellow Boat chased the leader through the turn before weakening, and Sisterly Love was in control at the top of the stretch. She was never threatened through the lane under good handling from da Silva.
"We were concerned, the horse outside (Welcome Dance) has a lot of speed, too," said da Silva. "But it worked out very good for us. She broke very well and made the pace. She never stopped running. She's a very nice filly."
Eagle Hall, progressing along the inside for Gary Boulanger, emerged from the pack in upper stretch but could make no impact on the winner while a clear second by 1 1/2 lengths over Pure Blue Sky and Tyler Pizarro.
In her only prior graded stakes tries, Sisterly Love was fifth in the Top Flight Handicap (gr. II) March 2 over the inner track at Aqueduct Racetrack and eighth in Woodbine's Whimsical (Can-III) as the favorite April 28. She began her career last year, winning all three of her starts. The Matron win was her fifth in eight lifetime starts and extended her earnings to $280,100.
"We were fortunate. Gary bought her after her first three starts and it took us a little while to figure her out," explained Casse. "But she ran well today. Like Eurico said, I was a little concerned with the outside horse, too. There seemed to be a little more speed today (than when she won the Trillium). But we just decided we're going to go running and if somebody else really wants it (the lead), fine."
Sisterly Love carried top weight of 119 pounds to victory and paid $3.90, $2.60, and $2.10. Eagle Hall returned $2.90 and $2.40 while competing an exacta worth $11.10. Pure Blue Sky paid $4.50 to show.
Logan's Peak was fourth, followed by Layali Dubai, Welcome Dance, and Yellow Boat.
Earlier on the card, Da Silva guided J.R. Racing Stable's Go Greeley to his first stakes win in front-running style by 2 1/2 lengths in the $135,032 Colin for 2-year-olds.
A dark bay son of Horse Greeley trained by John Ross, Go Greeley was an impressive maiden winner at first asking, and just missed last time out after a troubled start when defeated a nose by Spin the King in the Clarendon Stakes.
Go Greeley, who won for the second time in three starts while banking $154,327, stopping the clock in 1:10.19.
Shannon Farms bred Go Greeley in Ontario from the Smoke Glacken mare Orchids Halo.
Go Greeley paid $9.60 to win while handily defeating 3-10 choice Conquest Two Step. Tuscan Getaway was 3 1/4 lengths farther back in third in the field of seven.