Knights Templar Rallies in Ontario Debutante

(from Woodbine report
Knights Templar gave jockey Constant Montpellier his first added-money score of the 2005 campaign, rallying from just off the pace to take Saturday's (U.S.) $113,636 Ontario Debutante Stakes at Woodbine.

Dan Vella trains the Florida-bred 2-year-old bay daughter of Exploit who was sent off as the fourth choice in the field of seven.

She broke sharply from the gate in the six-furlong Ontario Debutante as Truly Blushed, who won her five-furlong debut on July 23, assumed the lead from the outside post, clicking off fractions of :22.47 for the quarter and :44.94 for the half.

Montpellier had Knights Templar in a tracking mode before unleashing a four-wide bid leaving the final turn.

Knights Templar, who lost a bit of ground at the top of the stretch, surged again a furlong from home and drove clear with a sixteenth to run en route a 1 3/4-length victory in a time of 1:09.75 over a main track rated as "fast."

It was the second victory from four starts for Knights Templar, who captured her career bow at 4 1/2 furlongs May 21. She finished fifth in the My Dear Stakes July 2 and followed that with a second-place effort at six furlongs on July 28.

"We liked her all along," said Vella, who saddled Honky Tonk Tune to victory in the 1994 Ontario Debutante. "She had a few minor things go wrong. But we always knew she was pretty nice, and she showed it today.

"You could see that 'Con' had a lot of horse the whole way. He's just a smart rider. He wasn't in a hurry early. He let the filly run her own race early. He got outside when he had to and the rest was up to her."

Clover IV Stables and Krista Seltzer own Knights Templar, who earned $67,786 (U.S.) for the victory. Brylynn Farm, Inc. bred the winner, who was produced by the Irish Tower mare Religiosity.

Knights Templar paid $11.30, $5.60, and $3.30 across the board, combining with Truly Blushed ($6.20, $4.30) for a $61.00 exacta. Tasha's Delight ($4.40) finished third. The trifecta paid $348.00.

(Chart, Equibase)