Northern Passion, one of four starters for trainer Mark Casse, rallied from last, ran down Dayatthespa in mid-stretch, and went on to take the $235,100 Natalma Stakes (Can-IIIT) (VIDEO) by 1 1/4 lengths Sept. 17 at Woodbine.
With Luis Contreras aboard, Northern Passion used an inside trip for her first stakes victory, in the process clinching a berth in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. IIT) Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs. The daughter of First Samurai is owned by John Oxley. She was bred in Ontario by Mel P. Lawson.
Casse won the one-mile Natalma for the third time in the last six years.
Entering off a runner-up finish in the Aug. 13 Ontario Debutante on the Woodbine Polytrack, Northern Passion was making her turf debut. She raced in last through a half-mile while Quality Lass led the way through splits of :23.37 and :46.50. Dayatthespa tracked perfectly in second under Ramon Dominguez and when they came off the turn she took the lead and opened up by a length at the eighth pole.
Dayatthespa was still going well in upper stretch, but Northern Passion cut the corner deftly and after splitting horses shifted down toward the rail for her assault on the leader. The chestnut filly caught Dayatthespa in the vicinity of the sixteenth pole and won going away. She completed the one mile on firm turf in 1:35.
Dayatthespa settled for second, two lengths in front of Stephanie's Kitten. Spirited Miss was fourth in the field of 12.
Northern Passion broke her maiden in her debut July 9 on the Woodbine Polytrack and one month later missed by only a half-length in the Ontario Debutante. With her latest win, she upped her earnings to $232,362.
The winner, who is out of the Golden Gear mare A Touch of Glory, was a $220,000 buy at the OBS 2011 selected sale of 2-year-olds in training.
Sent off as the fourth choice, Northern Passion paid $14.70, $6.80, and $4.20. The exacta (10-12) returned $106 and the trifecta (10-12-11) was worth $1,192.60.
Favored Hard Not to Like finished fifth.